Springfield, Mass. - April 4, 2015 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team defeated New Paltz in five sets before besting Southern Vermont in four sets on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena during the Springfield College Invitational.
The Pride bested New Paltz by the scores of 21-25, 26-24, 25-23, 19-25, 15-10 before knocking off Southern Vermont 25-15, 23-25, 25-16, 25-12.
The wins boosted Springfield's record to 21-6 on the year, as the Pride has now won its last 14 Division III matches.
Springfield will resume play on Thursday when it travels to play nationally-ranked NYU for a 6:00 pm contest.
Springfield 3, New Paltz 0
The afternoon's first match featured a pair of nationally-ranked foes, as New Paltz entered the match ranked third in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, while the Pride was ranked sixth. Additionally, the match pitted the nation's top-two ranked offenses against one another, as the Hawks entered with a the Division III best .333 hitting percentage, followed by the Pride's mark of .325.
The loss snapped New Paltz's 17-match winning streak, as it fell for the first time since February 25 when Springfield prevailed over the Hawks in five sets.
Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) was dominant in the win as he pounded out 23 kills to go along with four blocks, while Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) added 13 kills and five blocks. Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) totaled 12 kills and eight digs while hitting at a .429 clip and Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) was credited with 50 assists and nine digs. Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.) and Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) led the Pride with six blocks.
New Paltz had four players reach double figures in the kills column, with Christopher Husmann recording 13 kills to go along with a match-best seven blocks. Andy Fishman, Steven Woessner, and Anthony Bonilla all had 11 kills, while Christian Smith delivered 22 assists, eight kills, and eight digs. The Hawks were held to a .234 hitting percentage in the match.
The visitors jumped to to a 6-3 lead on a block from Bonilla and Husmann, but the Pride battled back to get within 10-9 after Padilla Ayala bounced a ball down the line. New Paltz regained a 15-11 lead on a Bonilla kill, but a 8-3 surge, capped off by a Jason Mascoe (Uniondale, N.Y.) kill out of the middle, put Springfield ahead for the first time, 19-18. However, New Paltz regained control and closed the set with a 7-2 push that featured two blocks and two kills from Husmann to win the first set, 25-21.
Springfield stormed out to a 5-2 lead to start the second after Woods hammered a ball in transition, only to the visitors answer with the next three points to even things early. However, Springfield regained its momentum and opened up a 14-10 lead on a New Paltz hitting error. The Pride's lead would grow to 18-12 on a block from Woods and Irizarry Feliciano, but New Paltz would climb all the way back with a 11-5 run to knot the set at 23 apiece following a block from Fishman and Husmann. The teams would trade points until a kills from Woods and Perez gave Springfield the 26-24 win.
The third set would prove to be a back-and-forth affair as it featured 21 ties and seven lead changes. After falling behind 4-2 in the third, Springfield earned a 7-6 lead on Perez's second solo block of the set. The teams would continue to trade points as the Pride took a 23-22 lead after Padilla Ayala crushed a ball cross court. Following a Woessner kill and service error, Mascoe and Padilla Ayala camed through with a block following a long rally for the 25-23 win as Springfied hit .444 in the frame.
Springfield's offense struggled to begin the fourth set, and the Pride fell behind 13-8 following its fourth hitting error of the game. The Hawks would go on to lead by as much as seven on four occasions as it hit .409 in the frame en route to the 25-19 win. Springfield was limited to a .130 clip, its lowest of the day.
In the decisive fifth set, the Pride produced back-to-back blocks and then benefited from an Eric Johnson (Tustin, Calif.) ace to take a 3-1 lead. Out of a timeout, the Hawks committed three-straight attack errors, with Woods and Irizarry Feliciano coming through with a block to force the visitors into their final timeout trailing 6-1. After committing five errors on their first eight swings, the Hawks began to build some momentum and clawed within 8-6 on a Bonilla kill. A solo stuff from Irizarry Feliciano put the Pride back in control and a huge stuff from Woods and Mascoe made it a match point at 14-8. Springfield then claimed the fifth-set win after New Paltz's 19 service error of the contest.
Springfield 3, Southern Vermont 1
In its second match of the day, 15 different members of the Pride saw action as it defeated Southern Vermont in four sets. Springfield recorded a season-best 18.0 team blocks in the win, with Shaun Ermi (Rush, N.Y.) leading the way with 11 blocks. Jason Weedon (North Tustin, Calif.) led an offense that hit .400 in the contest as he totaled a career-high 13 kills at a .435 clip to go along with three aces. Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) added 11 kills in three sets and Padilla Ayala hammered seven kills on eight errorless attempts in the final two sets. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) directed the offense with 30 assists.
Southern Vermont hit .091 in the match and had a pair of players hit double figure kills as Keven Walley notched 12 kills and Stewart Ramirez added 10 kills. Joey Dighton tallied four blocks and Herson Canta handed out 39 assists.
With the score even at seven apiece in the first set, Springfield used a 5-1 burst, capped off by a Zuvich kill to take a 12-8 cushion. After the Mountaineers got within 14-11, Springfield blew the set open with a pair of Weedon aces to take an 18-11. Zuvich controlled the stanza with six kills on seven errorless swings and teamed up with Mascoe and Evan Koehler (West Seneca, N.Y.) for a set-sealing triple block at 25-15.
The second set featured eight ties and four lead changes, the last coming at 19-all as the Mountaineers put together a 3-0 run to take a 22-19 lead. A kill from Weedon and ace from Eric Johnson (Tustin, Calif.) made it a one-point game, but back-to-back kills from Walley and Ramirez gave the visitors set point, which it would get on a Ramirez kill at 25-23. Walley was the difference in the set with seven kills.
Head coach Charlie Sullivan went to his usual starters to begin the third set and the squad responded by hitting .714 in the game. Holding a 7-5 lead early in the set, Springfield used a 10-2 spurt, highlighted by a trio of blocks, to earn a 17-8 lead. Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) gave the Pride a 25-16 win after he put away his fourth kill of the set.
Springfield once again broke away after a back-and-forth start to the fourth. Trailing 6-5 following an attack error, Springfield ended the match on a 20-6 run to pick up the four set win. Ermi had four blocks in the final set as the Mountaineers with limited to a .048 hitting percentage, while the hosts hit at a .579 clip in the game, with Weedon producing five kills.