Springfield, Mass. - March 13, 2021 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team opened up the 2021 campaign with a straight-set win over Endicott College on Saturday afternoon by the scores of 25-20, 25-20, 25-23.
Springfield has been ranked No. 1 in the country in the first four AVCA Division III National Coaches Polls of the season, while the Gulls entered the match ranked 10th in this week's poll. Saturday's match marked the first time that the men's volleyball team has played since March 11, 2020 and was the Pride's first match in Blake Arena in 375 days.
Springfield limited Endicott's offense to a .028 hitting percentage on the afternoon, highlighted by Chris Parker's (East Northport, N.Y.) match-high seven blocks. Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) recorded 13 kills at a .500 clip to go along with 10 digs, both match-high totals, while Jarrett Anderson (San Jose, Calif.) stuffed his stat sheet with nine kills, six aces, six blocks, and five digs. Matt Lilley (Stony Brook, N.Y.) directed the Pride's offense to a .353 hitting percentage as he handed out 29 assists in the win. Springfield finished the match with eight aces and 11.0 team blocks.
Endicott had four student-athletes register at least five kills, with Bryn Lipton totaling a team-best six putaways. Gabe DeBenedetto was credited with 19 assists and four digs.
It was the visiting Gulls that jumped out to an 8-4 advantage to start the match as an ace from Erich Roman forced Springfield into an early timeout. Out of the break, Springfield responded with an 11-4 surge that was capped off by back-to-back aces from Anderson. Parker and Anderson would combine for a stuff block at 21-16 as the Gulls whistled for their second timeout, before Anderson would later hammer a kill off the block for a 25-20 win. In the opening frame, Brandow had kills on all six of his attempts as Springfield hit .409.
After a back-and-forth start to the second, a 7-3 surge from Springfield broke open an eight-all tie as Anderson once again heated up from the service line with consecutive aces to put the hosts ahead, 15-11. Springfield would push its lead to 19-14 on a kill from Brandow and wrap up another 25-20 win as Parker and Brandow committed for a block in the middle.
In the third, Springfield put away 13 kills at a .458 hitting percentage, but also registered 13 service errors to keep the Gulls close throughout as the frame featured eight ties. Facing a 17-15 deficit, Springfield used a 4-1 burst featuring kills from Liam York (Kailua, Hawaii), Nate Reynolds (Baltimore, Md.), and Brandow to regain a 19-18 edge. Springfield stretched its advantage to 22-19 when Anderson and Parker delivered another block and Anderson bounced a ball down the line on match point for the 25-23 victory.
The Pride and Gulls will complete their home-and-home weekend series on Sunday in Beverly, Massachusetts. Game time is set for 1 pm and spectators will not be allowed.
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