Springfield, Mass. - April 5, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team delivered a three-set win over the visiting Milwaukee School of Engineering in Blake Arena on Thursday evening. The Pride won by the set scores of 25-18, 25-22, 25-12.
The match served as Springfield College's Puerto Rico Relief Awareness Game, as the Pride's men's volleyball team boasts the largest contingent of Puerto Rican student-athletes of any volleyball team, male or female, that compete at the any of the NCAA Division I, II, or III levels with seven student-athletes and one graduate assistant coach. In an effort to highlight the ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico needed after Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean in late September 2017, the Pride pushed its winning streak to 26 matches tonight after it was once again named the top-ranked Division III program in the AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll for the 27th-straight poll dating back to last season earlier this week. The video stream on SpringfieldCollegePride.com was also broadcast live in Spanish by Springfield College doctoral student, Javier Cruz, who also hails from Puerto Rico.
Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) handed out 30 assists in leading the Pride to a .373 hitting percentage in the win. Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) led all players with 13 kills, which came at a .500 clip, while Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) totaled six kills, and Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) chipped in six kills, eight digs, three blocks, and three aces. Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) also had a standout match as he racked up six blocks, four kills, and four digs.
After 10 ties in the early going, Springfield strung together three-straight points, with Figueroa Velez muscling a ball off the block in transition to force MSOE into a timeout at 14-11 in the first. Springfield's lead would grow to 21-15 after a stuff block from Irizarry Feliciano and the Raiders sixth service error gave the Pride the 25-18 victory. Both Zuvich and Figueroa Velez totaled three kills in the set, as the Pride hit .348 and held the visitors to a .097 hitting percentage.
Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) unloaded an ace at 5-3 in the second before Figueroa Velez crafted back-to-back aces to push the hosts lead to 12-7. Springfield would own a 17-13 advantage when Zuvich put away a ball on the right ridge, and despite the Raiders pulling within one on three occasions, Neary produced a kill into the back corner to earn set point at 24-22. Out of a MSOE timeout, the Raiders committed just their fourth attack error of the frame to hand the Pride a 25-22 win. Zuvich had four kills in the stanza for Springfield, which hit. 400.
Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) converted in transition for a 6-3 cushion in the third set for the Pride and the visitors would burn a timeout at 11-5 following a block from Irizarry Feliciano and Zuvich. Springfield would coast to a 25-12 win as it overwhelmed the visitors in the final set, limiting them to a -.034 hitting percentage, while Zuvich carried the offensive load with six kills.
Springfield will play in Blake Arena again on Saturday when it hosts Ramapo and MIT for a tri-match starting at 1 pm.