The Springfield College men’s volleyball team continued their 21-game home winning streak in commanding fashion with a 3-0 over Juniata College Friday night.
Charlie Sullivan’s team’s play has been tremendous, but the balance on the floor the Pride show night-in and night-out is what makes this team the best in Division III volleyball. Alistair Matthews’ 14 kills and .333 hitting percentage made him the star as the Pride rolled to their straight set victory.
“Falcone and O’Leary in the middle and Pelle [Mike Pelletier] and on the other side Luis [Vega] on the outside drew the Juniata block over there,” Matthews said. “So I had an open block or one blocker at some points. So me and [Mike] Becker connected and it went well.”
Becker, the Pride’s senior setter, continues to embrace his opportunity to play in place of injured sophomore Keaton Piper. The four-year player finished with 31 assists and seven digs.
Libero Nick Ferry and his backline have not let a lot of hits die out in front of them. Instead, the Springfield is digging out the loose balls and creating possession. Springfield finished the match with 32 digs with Matthews and Ferry contributed eight digs apiece.
“With me coming from the back row, the digs come from teammates as they put up great blocks,” Matthews said.
The great blocking emerged from middle blockers Jimmy O’Leary and Greg Falcone. O’Leary posted nine kills and two blocks while Falcone tallied for six points and a block.
Springfield’s game by game victories were not a walk in the park by any means as Juniata brought a fair amount of trouble to the Pride. There were moments where it seemed the Eagles were about to gain control with outside hitter Paul Kuhn, who recorded team-high 11 kills.
When it mattered, though, Springfield meant business. In one sequence, Falcone came up with a vicious block, leading to an unbelievable diving pancake by Matthews and finished off with a hammer kill by O’Leary, leading to an explosion of the crowd and took the wind from beneath the Eagles wings.
Next up on the Pride’s schedule in the Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Class Tournament is Loyola University of Chicago. The Ramblers attack is an efficient one as they are serving at .845 clip. But as Coach Sullivan reiterated, it will be a true test and learning experience for the men in white and maroon.
“We got a good scouting report, the guys take care themselves and get some rest, and we will use it as a learning experience,” Sullivan said.
Springfield will take on Loyola for the Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic crown on Saturday at 8 p.m.