Brooklyn, N.Y. - March 9, 2019 - After cruising to wins in the first two sets, the Springfield College men's volleyball team held on for a five-set win against New York University at the Brooklyn Athletic Facility on Saturday afternoon. The Pride won by the scores of 25-16, 25-15, 19-25, 23-23, 16-14.
Springfield, which has ranked No. 2 in the nation in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improves to 18-2 this year. The loss brings NYU's record to 8-7.
Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) put together a special performance for the Pride as he delivered 37 assists in leading a Springfield offense that had six players with at least seven kills. He also added eight kills, eight digs, a career-best seven aces, and three blocks, while Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) totaled a match-best 14 kills. Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) delivered 16 digs in the win.
NYU hit .323 in the setback, compared to the Pride's .281 team hitting percentage. Evan Lindley had 13 kills and both Alex Li and Neil Ferraro totaled 10 kills, while Matin Bikdeli had 42 assists, seven digs, six kills, and four blocks.
Even at 3-3 in the first set, Springfield strung together four-straight points, with an ace from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares giving the Pride a 7-3 edge. Springfield would hold a 10-6 lead before the arena lost power, resulting in a 30-minute delay, but the Pride would tack on three-straight points out of the break to force the Violets into a timeout trailing by seven. An ace from Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) would push the lead to 22-14 and Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) and Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares combined for a block to complete the 25-16 first-set win. The Pride hit .393 in the stanza, with Brandow totaling a team-best four kills.
The Pride used three-straight aces from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares to surge out to a 10-3 lead in the second set and would cruise to a 25-15 win. Springfield have five aces in the stanza and hit .375, but both teams had eight service errors in the frame as NYU was limited to just five kills in the frame.
It was NYU that jumped out to a fast start in the third, seizing an 8-3 advantage in the early going. A kill from Brandow pulled the Pride within 10-7, but the hosts then manufactured a 7-2 burst to hold a comfortable 17-9 edge. The Violets erupted for 17 kills at a .405 clip in the set en route to the 25-19 win.
In the fourth, the score was tied 13 times, the last coming at 23-all following a Springfield attack error. NYU would then benefit from two more Springfield attack errors to force a fifth set after the 25-23 win, a stanza in which NYU hit .417 with 13 kills.
After the Violets gained a 9-7 lead in the fifth set, Springfield scored five of the next seven points to earn a 12-11 lead after a big swing from Brandow in transition. The Pride would gain match point at 14-12 on a NYU attack error into the net, but a Pride service error and attack error would even things up once more. Coming out of a Springfield timeout, NYU committed a service error and then Brandow delivered his fourth kill of the set to seal the 16-14 win.
The Pride will return to Blake Arena for a showdown with nationally-ranked New Paltz on Wednesday. First serve is at 6 pm.
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