Middle blocker Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.), setter Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas), and outside hitter Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) took home first-team honors for the first time in their careers, while libero Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) earned the first-team accolade for the second time in his career.
As a program, Springfield College has had 20 student-athletes garner AVCA All-America recognition a total of 35 times, including 23 first-team selections. No other Division III program in the country has received more AVCA All-American selections than the Pride's 35 honorees. Springfield previously had three AVCA First-Team All-America selections in 2004, 2010, and 2011.
This is the first season each team was expanded to 14 players with AVCA All-America Honorable Mentions.
O'Leary has had a dominant senior season for the Pride and is currently tops in the country in hitting percentage at .510, thanks to hitting over .500 in 19 matches this season. He has also been a force defensively and ranks third nationally blocks per set with 1.18, and leads the Pride with 39 aces this year. O'Leary is now a two-time AVCA All-American after making the second team a year ago.
In his four years at Springfield, Ferry has provided the Pride with consistency at the libero position and has put together a historic career for the Pride. To date, Ferry has registered a program record 1,007 digs, marking the first player to wear a Springfield jersey and break the 1,000 dig plateau. This season, his 2.44 digs per set places him first on the squad as he earns his first AVCA First-Team All-American since his freshman season in 2011.
Currently ranked fifth in the nation in assists per set (10.19), Pieper is a first-time AVCA All-American after posting 787 assists as a junior. In charge of orchestrating Springfield's offense, Pieper has directed the Pride to a .324 hitting percentage, which is currently the best in the country. He has also added 66 digs, 55 blocks, and 19 service aces.
One of the more dynamic players in 2014, Vega ranks first on the Pride with 317 kills and is averaging 3.87 kills per set to accompany his .362 hitting percentage. This season, Vega became just the second player in Men's Division III history to record consecutive AVCA National Player of the Week, and has chipped in 116 digs, 50 blocks, and 27 aces.
The top-seeded Pride will play in the NCAA Division III Championship this upcoming weekend at Juniata College. Springfield will play Endicott College in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon at 12:30 pm.