Springfield, Mass. - February 9, 2019 - The Springfield College men's volleyball program earned a pair of victories in Blake Arena on Saturday as it swept Sage and down St. Joseph's (LI) in four sets.
Springfield, which was ranked No. 1 in the country in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll, improved to 10-1 win the victories. With the two wins today, Springfield pushed its home winning streak to 40 matches dating back to 2016, while the Pride has won 41-straight matches against Division III competition.
Springfield will be home again on Tuesday night when it hosts Johnson & Wales at 7 pm.
Springfield 3, Sage 0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-21)
With Matt Lilley (Stony Brook, N.Y.) running the offense and handing out 28 assists, Springfield produced a .397 hitting percentage. Rafa Robert-Rodriguez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) totaled a career-high 11 kills at a .625 clip, while Brian Stuart (Yucaipa, Calif.) delivered a career-best nine kills and Braden Tam (Hong Kong) chipped in six kills on 10 errorless attempts. Thomas Wollweber (Oceanside, N.Y.) notched a match-best three blocks and both Lilley and Stuart ripped three aces.
In the opening frame, Springfield delivered a .524 hitting percentage as Robert-Rodriguez erupted for seven kills. Even at seven-all, Springfield ratteld off three-straight points, with Lilley blistering an ace to get the spurt started. The Gators would call for a timeout at 17-11 when Lilley found the back corner for a kill and Tam later went down the line in transition to complete the 25-17 win.
Following four-straight kills from Tam and an ace by Stuart, Springfield jumped out to a 13-5 cushion in the second set. The lead would grow to 23-13 on a kill by Wollweber, and the Pride would secure another 25-17 win on a Sage service error. The hosts would total 16 kills in the set at a .426 hitting percentage.
In a set that featured six times and four lead changes, Sage seized a 17-15 lead in the third and Springfield called for a timeout to regroup. Out of the break, Springfield put together a 6-1 burst thanks to five errors by the Gators, and Robert-Rodriguez bounced the match-winning kill at 25-21 to complete the sweep. Both Stuart and Robert-Rodriguez had four kills in the last frame to pace Springfield.
Springfield 3, St. Joseph's (LI) 1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-21, 25-18)
Springfield battled their way to a four-set win versus St. Joseph's between the standout play of Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) and Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.). Neary led all players withy 15 kills, which came at a .440 clip, to go along with seven digs, four aces, and three blocks, while Brandow turned in 13 kills and nine digs. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) handed out 45 assists, and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) turned in five blocks and eight kills.
For St. Joseph's, Tyler Jones was credited with 32 assists, Paul Curaro notched a team-best 12 kills, and Mathew Amberge chipped in 11 kills. Daniel McNamara delivered a match-high 12 digs, and Kyle Biggers recorded six blocks. The Golden Eagles had 11 solo blocks in the match, but were held to a .085 hitting percentage.
A huge block from Neary and Jasuta gave Springfield a 3-1 led to begin the match, but the Golden Eagles would answer back to take an 8-7 lead on a solo block by Jones. Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) would put a ball away in transition for the 11-9 lead, and back-to-back attack errors by the visitors gave the Pride a 17-13 advantage. An overpass kill by Jasuta forced the visitors into a timeout at 20-15 and Neary elevated for the stuff block for a 25-17 victory. Springfield hit .500 as a team in the opener, with five players having at least two kills.
Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) hammered a kill for an 11-8 lead in the second set, but the Golden Eagles would take advantage of seven hitting miscues to earn a 17-14 advantage as Springfield burned its second timeout. St. Joseph's lead would grow to 20-14, but a 7-2 push capped off by a Neary ace brought the Pride within 22-21 as the visitors called for a timeout of their own. However, the late push would fall short and a kill by Jones gave the visitors a 25-22 win. Springfield would committed 14 attach errors in the stanza and hit -.114.
The Pride responded by surging out to a 10-4 lead in the third set as Neary keyed the early push with a kill and block to force the visitors into an early timeout. Springfield's lead would balloon to 15-8, only to have the Golden Eagles string together a 6-1 run to pull within 16-14 on an ace by Amberge. Springfield would get a block from Jasuta and Eli Irizarry Pares and a cross court kill from Neary in transition to earn a 21-17 lead and Brandow buried a kill for the 25-21 win. Neary had six of Springfield's 14 kills in the stanza to pace the attack.
Springfield committed three attack errors in the early going as it found itself trailing 7-3 and wasted no time whistling for a timeout to start the fourth. Brandow would then start to take over the match, as a solo stuff and three kills gave Springfield a 10-9 lead before back-to-back aces from Neary allowed the Pride to open up a three-point lead. The advantage would balloon to 20-13 when Neary crushed a ball off the block and Brandow thumped his seventh kill of the set to conclude the 25-18 win.