Championships are sweet, but revenge puts a little more icing on the cake.
In 2011, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team was eliminated by Nazareth, 3-1, in the Molten Division III Invitational, but in the 2013 NCAA Championship Springfield rose to the occasion and won their second Division III National Championship in three straight sets. The Pride finished their season with a 31-3 record after the long, tremendous push to become champions.
The Pride featured eight seniors on this season’s team, making this season more and more special than recent years. But in the tournament, the production didn’t just come from one or two players, instead the depth the Pride showed throughout the tournament with several players rising to the occaision.
Calling Springfield’s offense “dynamic” doesn’t do them justice. In fact, its a rather large understatement. Whether it was sophomore setter Keaton Pieper’s complementary role following a shoulder injury, or an opposite hitter transition from senior Alistair Matthews to fellow fourth-year John Coen, Sullivan’s club has been robust both on the floor and off the bench.
Luis Vega, who has been one of the Pride’s standouts in his first year, was the chatter on the final day after being honored with the Most Outstanding Player award after finishing with 13 kills at a .632 hitting percentage in the win over Nazareth. One of his many mentors, last year’s MOP Mike Pelletier, registered 13 kills while posting a .480 hitting clip.
On the defensive side of the floor, Nick Ferry, who was a member of the 2013 All-Tournament team, recorded match-high seven digs.
The eight seniors on the Pride are extremely grateful for a story book ending, and their even happier to leave the James Naismith Court in good hands.
Check out the celebration along with interviews from Sullivan, Pelletier, Coen and All-Tournament blocker Greg Falcone below.