The Pride, which was ranked first in the country in the latest AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, earned one of four at-large berths into the field of 10 teams. Springfield enters the Championship weekend with a 24-8 record, including a 23-3 record against Division III opponents. The Pride has won its last 13 Division III matches dating back to February 15.
Springfield will square off in the national quarterfinals on Friday, April 25 against the winner of Endicott (18-12) and MIT (24-6 ) at 12:30 pm. The play-in game between those two teams will be played on April 19 at Endicott.
On the same side of the bracket as Springfield, 4th-seeded Rivier (29-6) will battle 5th-seeded Carthage (22-7) on Friday at 3:00 pm. In the bottom half of the bracket, No. 2 seed New Paltz (27-3) will play the winner of Stevens (22-7) and Baruch (27-10) at 5:30 pm, while 3rd-seeded Juniata (27-4) will play Kean University (26-7) at 8:00 pm. The championship continues with two semifinal matches on Saturday, April 26 and the championship match on Sunday, April 27.
Earlier this season, Springfield and MIT squared off on March 5, when the Engineers were ranked third in the country and the Pride were the nation's fourth-ranked team. Playing in Blake Arena, the Pride won in straight sets by the scores 26-24, 25-16, 25-20 victory over the Engineers.
In that win, Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) was dominant in the middle, registering 12 kills at a .409 clip to go along with seven blocks. Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) registered 34 assists and four aces and Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) posted eight digs.
Springfield and Endicott met on April 4 in the Springfield College Invitational, and the Pride prevailed by the set scores of 25-9, 25-12, 25-13. Springfield hit .429 as a team and 12 different players registered a kill, with Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) registering a match-high nine kills.
Springfield is the two-time defending NCAA Division III National Champions, after sweeping Carthage in 2012 and Nazareth in 2013. As a program, the Pride has won a total of eight Division III National Championships, including four in the past six seasons.