Providence, R.I. - January 21, 2016 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team eased past Endicott College in straight sets before bouncing back from dropping the opening set to topple Johnson and Wales on Friday evening in the Johnson & Wales Tip-Off Tournament in the Wildcat Center.
Today marked the first competition against Division III opponents for the Pride, as it went 2-1 last week in California against Division II and NAIA institutions. Springfield is currently the top-ranked Division III team in the country according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coaches Preseason Poll.
The Pride will return to action on Saturday when it plays Lasell at 11:00 am.
Springfield 3, Endicott 0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-10)
Springfield's offense put on a show against Endicott as it hit .569 in the three-game sweep, which marked the Pride's best team hitting percentage since it recorded a .632 performance against Marymount on April 5, 2014.
Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) notched a match-high 12 kills and five digs to go along with three blocks while hitting at a .474 clip. Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) added nine kills, three aces, and four digs, and Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) was credited with 33 assists in leading the Pride attack.
In the first set, Woods set the tone early with four kills coming in an opening stretch that saw the Pride storm out to a 16-5 advantage. The Gulls would get as close as seven three different times, the last when an ace made it 23-16. However, a big swing from Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and block from Woods and Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) sealed the 25-16 victory. Woods totaled six kills in the set for the Pride, which hit .429 in the frame.
Springfield's offense continued to be the difference in the second set as the Pride registered 12 kills at a .733 clip, lead by four from Woods. The frame featured seven ties, the last coming at 11-all following another Endicott ace. The Pride put together an 8-3 surge, capped off by an ace from Welsh-White to open up 19-14 cushion that it would not relinquish. Springfield produced five aces in the set, with Garcia Rubio delivering one on set point for the 25-18 victory.
Endicott was limited to just four kills in the third and final set, compared to Springfield which tallied 15 while hitting .591. The Pride used another great start, taking a 15-5 advantage and never looking back as it cruised to the 25-10 win.
Springfield 3, Johnson and Wales 1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-11, 25-13)
After dropping the opening set against host Johnson and Wales, Springfield responded with three dominating sets to pick up a four-set victory. The Pride hit .311 in the contest, including hitting no less than .375 in each of the final three frames.
Woods, Vega, and Padilla Ayala each total 15 kills in the victory, with Woods racking up a .393 hitting percentage. Padilla Ayala dazzled from the end line, posting a career-high nine service aces, while Welsh-White added four aces of his own. Vega led all players with 12 digs and Garcia Rubio handed out 47 assists.
Springfield was hampered by 10 attack errors in the opening set, a stanza that featured six ties and three lead changes. The Pride owned a 20-18 advantage following a kill from Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico), but the hosts strung together four-straight points to take a lead they would not relinquish en route to the 25-23 win.
Welsh-White took control of the second set from the opening whistle, notching a kill and a pair of aces to help the Pride race out to a 5-1 advantage. Springfield's lead would balloon to as much as 10 after a block from Welsh-White and Vega put the visitors ahead 23-13. The Wildcats made a final push with five-straight points, but Woods crushed two of his six second-set kills to close out the the 23-18 win.
Even at 1-1 in the early going, Padilla Ayala sided out for Springfield and then went on a 10-point serving run which featured five service aces as the Pride seized an 11-2 lead. Springfield hit .545 in the third set and cruised to a 25-11 victory.
Leading 8-5 in the fourth, Springfield put together a 7-0 surge, capped off by consecutive blocks by Jonathon Rodriguez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico), to lead 15-5. The Pride totaled 16 kills in the set, hitting at a .538 clip, with both Vega and Padilla Ayala posting five kills apiece in the frame.