The history of the Springfield College men’s volleyball team has always been prosperous and full of tradition, but this year, it’s been at a whole new level, as the Pride have reached a new record of 29 wins and counting.
This accomplishment is essentially a compliment to the team’s glorifying success this year and a testament of their true demeanor. Aside from the record breaking, Springfield is focusing on what is left in their path to the ultimate goal.
“We have a lot more to do,” coach Charlie Sullivan emphatically stated. “That’s not a goal of ours to have the most wins in the program’s history. We are working hard to have the season go far and beyond our expectations.”
Currently, Springfield is amidst a staggering stint of 17 consecutive victories. The team has been on a tear thanks to the diversity of talent and the experienced players.
“We had a lot of experience coming into the season,” junior outside hitter Mike Pelletier commented. “There are multiple starters who have been starting since freshman year. And now as juniors, we all know what has to get done and how we have to get there.”
This year, the balance of veteran leadership and the skilled first-year athletes have truly been the story. In establishing chemistry throughout a panel of players, the unity and friendship on and off the court comes into play.
“We spend so much time together,” Pelletier said. “It is just so easy. The connection between our seniors and freshmen now will lead to the cohesion.”
With cohesion brings great performances, and this year a number of eye-catching plays and players have emerged. Members of the Pride, including sophomore middle blocker Jim O’Leary, freshman outside hitter Angel Perez, junior outside hitter Alistair Matthews and junior middle blocker Greg Falcone, have all earned national praise in this 2011-12 season. All four have been honored with the Sports Import/AVCA Division III National Player of the Week honors this season.
Their drive and precision have led the Pride to great performances. This season, Pelletier is leading the pack at the net with 232 kills; shortly behind him is Perez with 214 kills.
Defense in any game is an important part of any victory and in volleyball, saving the rock before it touches the ground is the concept. Libero Nick Ferry has been incredible in fulfilling his on-court duties and has tallied 234 digs in his second year. Additionally, Falcone has been a constructive force in the middle, recording 125 blocks.
Aside from the great season the Pride have displayed, the postseason is where champions are made.
“It’s a season-long preparation,” said Matthews. “We have to go into every practice and game focused. We all have a common goal to get there and win it.”
The Pride will look to keep their streak alive and rack up another win for their record when they take on MIT in their season finale on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Springfield College will host the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships at Blake Arena from Apr. 27-29
Mark Loiselle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org