Springfield, Mass. – February 25, 2014 Sparked by nine kills from Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico), the Springfield College men’s volleyball team coasted to a 3-0 victory over the Emmanuel College Saints on Tuesday night at Blake Arena.
The Pride won by set scores of 25-16, 25-16, 25-17.
With the win, the Pride improve to 13-7. However, with the loss, Emmanuel drops to 5-7 overall. Springfield entered the match ranked third in this week's AVCA Division III National Poll, while the Saints were among those teams receiving votes.
Tied at 11 points apiece to begin the match, Springfield scored three straight points, capped off with a block from Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) and Sean Peterson (Norfolk, Va.) to put the Pride up 14-11.
Coming out of an Emmanuel timeout, Springfield went on a 9-1 run, including two kills from Perez, an ace from Eric Johnson (Tustin, Calif.) and a kill from Jimmy O’Leary (Reading, Pa) to make it 23-12. The Pride closed out the set on an attempt from Saints’ junior Zach Whitermore (Whitehall, Pa.) that went out-of-bounds, taking set one, 25-16.
Springfield’s middles were instrumental in the first set, with Peterson and O’Leary combining for nine of the Pride’s 13 kills.
The Pride started the second set with two blocks to pace a 5-2 run. Sophomore outside hitter Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) was in on both of the blocks, one of which was a solo block on Whitermore.
With a 15-8 lead midway through the second set, Zuvich sparked a string of points for the Pride, including a big swing from Peterson that putting Springfield up 18-11 and forcing an Emmanuel timeout. Springfield sealed the 25-16 second set win as Perez hammered a ball out of the back row, one of his five kills in the frame.
Kicking off the third set with back-to-back kills from Perez and Vega, Springfield went up 4-1, ending with a solo block from Peterson. However, Emmanuel then went on a 4-1 run of their own, ending with a block from Michael Felix (Mission Hills, Calif.) and Ashanti Jackson (Sacramento, Calif.) to tie the game at five points apiece.
From that point on, Springfield went on a 7-3 surge to give them a 12-8 lead midway through the third set, using a key cross-court kill from Vega. The Saints came crawling back into the third set, going on a 6-3 burst including an ace from Wyatt Cooper (Ridgefield, Conn.) to make it 16-14, Pride. Springfield quickly defused Emmanuel’s attack, going on a 4-1 run of their own, highlighted by two kills from Vega.
With the score set at 24-17, an ace from Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) sealed the match for the Pride, taking the third set 25-17.
Perez had nine kills at a .467 clip to go along with six digs, while Zuvich added six kills and four blocks. Vega, O'Leary, and Peterson each had five kills, and Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) handed out 27 assists. Vega notched a match-best five blocks, and Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) led all players with nine digs.
Notable performances from the Saints included nine kills from junior outside hitter Ryan Kessler (Santa Clarita, Calif.), while junior Sean Baxley (Saint James, N.Y.) and freshman Jorge Rojas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) combined for 24 assists.
Springfield hit .348 in the game, while Emmanuel was limited to a .036 hitting percentage.
Up next for the Springfield, the Pride will be hosting a tri-match with Baruch College and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Springfield will be squaring off with Baruch at 2 p.m. and Wentworth at 4 p.m., both matches being held in Blake Arena.