Springfield, Mass. - April 15, 2012 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team was awarded the top-seed in the inaugural NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship, which will take place April 27-29 in Springfield College's Blake Arena. The Pride will square off against the winner of the play-in game between Baruch College and Elms College.
The Pride, which was ranked second in the country in the latest AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, earned one of three at-large berths into the field of nine teams. Springfield closed out the regular season winning 28 of its final 29 matches, and enters the Championship with a 30-5 record.
Springfield will square off in the national quarterfinals on Friday, April 27 at 12:30 pm against the winner of the Baruch and Elms. The play-in game between those two teams will be played on April 21 at 7:00 pm at Baruch. (Note: Baruch, now 24-14, defeated Elms, 3-0).
On the same side of the bracket as Springfield, Kean University (25-10) takes on Hunter College (25-8) at 2:30 pm on Friday. In the bottom half of the bracket, the University of California-Santa Cruz (17-6) plays Rivier College (26-8) at 5:30, while Carthage (27-5) will play Nazareth College (27-8) in the final match of the day at 7:30 pm. The championship continues with two semifinal matches on Saturday, April 28 and the championship match on Sunday, April 29.
Earlier this season, Springfield and Baruch squared off in a pair of spirited matches, both of which were won by Springfield. The Pride rallied after dropping the first two sets at Baruch to win in five on March 3. Mike Pelletier finished led the way with a match-high 19 kills, hitting .472, while Jimmy O'Leary hammered 12 kills on 18 errorless swings, hitting .667 and added three blocks. On March 24, the teams played each other in the Springfield College Invitational, and the Pride won in straight sets. The Pride hit .487 in the win, with Alistair Matthews producing a match-high 13 kills at a .579 clip. The Pride has not competed against Elms since it swept them in 2009.
This is the first year for a separate Division III men’s volleyball championship. Previously, Division III schools participated in the Molten Division III Men’s Invitational Volleyball Championship, which was formed in 1997.