Springfield, Mass. - April 29, 2017 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team advanced to the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship after a three-game sweep of the Stevens Institute of Technology in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College. Set scores were 25-21, 25-14, 28-26.
It marks the eighth-straight season that the Springfield College men's volleyball team has advanced to the national championship, including its sixth-straight NCAA Championship match. The Pride will play for the national title on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm, squaring off against either New Paltz or Wentworth.
In a rematch of the 2015 NCAA Division III Championship, the victory boosts the top-seeded Pride to a 28-2 record this season, while the Ducks season came to a close at 31-6.
Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) led Springfield to a .429 hitting percentage as he handed out 37 assists to go along with five digs and two blocks. Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) was dominant, totaling 20 kills at a .571 clip, Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) added nine kills, and Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) ripped five of the Pride's 11 service aces.
Stevens opened up a 10-8 lead to begin the match following an overpass kill, only to have Evans put the Pride back on top at the media timeout, 15-13, after he delivered consecutive aces. Springfield's lead would grow 18-15 on a kill by Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico), but Stevens would battle back to 22-21. From there, the Pride closed out the frame with three-straight points, with Vega producing the Pride's fourth ace of the frame for the 25-21 win. Springfield hit .478 in the opening set, led by Vega's six kills.
Garcia Rubio and Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) combined for a block to put the hosts ahead 7-4 in the second and Vega blasted a backrow kill in transition to force the Ducks into a timeout at 9-5. Evans once again recorded back-to-back aces as the visitors burned a timeout at 17-9, and the lead would balloon to 21-11 when Rodriguez Lopez bounced a ball in system. Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) wrapped up the 25-14 win with a swing out of the middle to conclude a frame in which the Pride hit .875 as a team, totaling 14 kills on 16 errorless attempts.