Springfield, Mass. - March 1, 2019 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team rebounded from their first Division III loss of the season earlier in the week with a straight-set win over Vassar in Blake Arena on Friday night. The Pride won by the scores of 25-20, 25-19, 26-24.
Springfield, which has been ranked No. 1 in the country for the last 37-straight AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improved to 16-2, while Vassar dropped to 8-5.
Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) led all players with 13 kills, which came at a .500 clip, while Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) added 11 kills, also hitting .500. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) handed out 28 assists in leading the Pride to a .390 hitting percentage, as we also totaled a match-best 13 digs and six kills. Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) chipped in 10 kills for a Springfield team that owned a 41-19 edge in digs in the match.
For Vassar, six different players had at least three kills, with Jake Kaplan and Jefferson Waters each totaling eight kills. Both Daniel Halberg and Kevin Ros were credited with 15 assists as the Brewers hit .224, and Matt Usui registered a team-best eight digs.
Consecutive attack errors by the visitors forced the Brewers into a timeout as Springfield gained a 16-14 advantage midway through the first set. After Vassar would tie things up at 17-all, the Pride put together a three-point surge, with Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) finding a corner in transition for the 20-17 edge. A kill from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares would push the Pride's lead to 23-19 as Vassar burned another timeout, and Brandow's fifth kill of the set gave the Pride a 25-20 win. In a frame that featured 13 ties, Springfield would hit at a .500 clip.
Knotted at 10 in the second set, Springfield manufactured a 5-1 surge as Brandow put away back-to-back kills in transition to force the visitors into their first timeout of the stanza. Leading 19-18, Springfield would again benefit from two-straight kills from Brandow to give the hosts a 22-18 cushion. The Pride would take a 2-0 lead with a 25-19 win as five players had at least two kills, with Brandow producing six kills on seven errorless attempts.
The third set would prove to be a back-and-forth affair, with the teams totaling 18 ties and seven lead changes. Neary put a ball away after a tremendous dig from Mussa Robles for the 6-3 lead in the third, but the visitors responded with four-straight points to take a 7-6 lead on an overpass kill by Kaplan. The Pride later built a 20-18 lead when Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) floated in Springfield's second ace of the night, but the teams would again be tied at 24 following a Pride service error. Another kill from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares gave Springfield their second match point, and the sophomore blistered a match from the end line to conclude the evening and the 26-24 win.
Springfield is back in action next Wednesday when it hits the Mass. Pike to travel to Cambridge for a showdown with MIT beginning at 7 pm.
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