Springfield, Mass. – March 5, 2014 - Both Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) and Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) each tallied 12 kills to power the Springfield College men's volleyball team to a three-game sweep of MIT on Wednesday evening in Blake Arena. The Pride won the set scores of 26-24, 25-16, 25-20.
The Pride, who are currently ranked fourth in the country, improve to 16-7, while MIT, the nation's third-ranked team, falls to 13-3.
O'Leary was dominant in the middle for Springfield, producing 12 kills and seven blocks, and Zuvich posted 12 kills and four blocks of his own. As a team, Springfield hit .317 for the match as Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) delivered 34 assists to go along with four aces and three blocks. Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) led all players with eight digs.
MIT had five players with at least five kills as both Kenny Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) and Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) paced the visitors with eight kills. Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) notched 17 assists and a team-best seven digs in the loss.
Springfield jumped out to a great start to begin the match, using a kill and ace from Zuvich to take a 5-0 lead. Springfield’s lead grew to 14-9 on an O’Leary swing, but MIT answered with a 6-1 surge, with Siebert chipping a kill off the Springfield block to force the Pride into a timeout knotted at 15 all. Out of the break, a Zuvich kill and consecutive aces from Pieper put Springfield back in control with a three-point cushion. MIT would fight off set point to tie things at 24-all on a Busse and Aaron Zalewski (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) block, only to have back-to-back Engineer hitting errors complete the first set, with Jason Mascoe (Uniondale, N.Y.), Zuvich and Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) combining for a set-sealing block. O’Leary registered six kills in the frame for the Pride.
After falling behind 3-1 to start the second, Springfield scored four-straight, with O’Leary hammering a ball in transition for a 5-3 lead. Springfield’s lead grew to 11-7 on a Sean Peterson (Norfolk, Va.) and Perez block, and the hosts never looked back as they eased their way to a 25-16 win. Zuvich, who posted five kills in the frame, capped off the game in fitting fashion by crushing a ball down the line. Springfield hit .385 in the frame, compared to MIT's -.034 hitting percentage.
Pieper’s ace clipped the tape in the third for a 7-4 lead for the hosts, but a 5-2 burst by MIT made it an 11-9 contest. Zuvich sided out for Springfield and kickstarted a 5-0 run that was highlighted by a pair of Pieper and O'Leary blocks, which put Springfield ahead, 16-9. The Pride's lead would grow to as much as 20-11 on a Pieper ace, and Zuvich completed the three-game sweep with his 12th kill of the match.
Springfield will not play again until next Monday when it hosts Marymount at 6:00 pm.