It was an extremely emotional weekend to be apart of the New England Area as well as apart of the community here at Springfield College. Friday evening men’s volleyball kicked off their home opener with an extremely loud, straight set win over Kean University which left the crowd hungry for more. Saturday men’s basketball set out for redemption against Wheaton (Mass.) after a 67-63 loss earlier this season and eventually brought it home, at home, with a 98-78 win. Wrestling, celebrating senior day, walked away 2-3 on the day with wins over Plymouth State and Castleton. Saving the best for last the men’s volleyball team were set to play in the championship match at 8 pm against nationally ranked Vassar College after the previous nights win advancing them to the finals.
800-plus students and members of the Springfield College community packed out Blake Arena two nights in a row this past weekend during the International Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic. The Springfield College mens volleyball team went to work advancing their season record to 8-1, as well as taking home some hardware. During the 30th annual Morgan Classic, the Pride best Vassar in straight sets for the gold, making this their third Classic title in school history. In addition to the championship, Luis Vega captured Most Outstanding Player of the Classic while Kyle Jasuta and Luis Garcia Rubio both were named to the All-Tournament team.
Opening night in the Mecca was a 2016 NCAA Quarterfinal “rematch” verse #8 ranked Kean University. The Pride was off to a slow start against the Cougars in the first set. It was a back and fourth match until the Pride took a 9-7 lead, breaking the game open with an Ace from Luis Garcia Rubio. To follow up the ace, Luis Vega demolished a ball from the back row for a kill. From this point on, the Men’s Volleyball team seized the heart of the crowd and there was no stopping them.
“[The crowd] got us to show off a bit”, sophomore Kyle Jasuta explained. And that is exactly what the Pride did. Sergio Figueroa Velez opened up the second set with a 5 point run at the service line and the Pride answered at the net by owning it with a merciless hitting percentage of .571 in the second set and holding off Kean to a .125 hitting percentage. They finished the night with a .362 hitting percentage which was lead by Luis Vega with 17 kills.
It was truly such an emotional night in the Mecca, the crowd showed their love and support to what the boys like to call “the process”.
“[The crowd] was a reminder of what a special place Blake is during volleyball season,” senior Sean Ermi said. “I think Friday was the most [amount of] people I’ve seen in Blake in my own four years here and I think [the] people who came felt the energy.”
He was absolutely correct, the crowd shook Blake Arena. The atmosphere on Friday night was in a tug of war between the Pride dominating the court and the supplying the energy given to them. All in all, the team and the crowd seemed to just feed off of each other which resulted in a euphoric, Springfield College styled win.
Fan favorite Johjan Mussa wrapped up his first ever Morgan Classic/home opener, he said his experience Friday night was, “definitely going to be a memory that I will carry throughout my whole college career.” That is why the Mecca is the most spectacular and unpredictable place. So much has been devoted on those paneled wood floors, history has been made in that arena and most importantly Championships have been won here. There will be many more of those to come this year.
Saturday the boys played in the sixth-straight championship round and took home the gold for the third time in school history. It was a three set victory over the Vassar College Brewers. There was no fault in their game, their mission from the beginning was clear: the Pride showed up all business, no questions asked. With yet another sweep on the weekend the squad hit an impressive .388 on the night with senior Luis Vega leading with 12 kills and senior Trevor Mattson contributing his own 9 kills to the effort.They owned the net holding the Brewers to a .000 hitting percentage. The team was in full control the entire match gaining a cushion early on and never letting the Brewers back into it. The men were victorious at the end of a flawless tournament.
The team maintained their position as No. 1 in the latest AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll after stretching their win streak to 8 games. Heading into another action packed weekend the Pride are set to play a double header on Saturday against Suny-Poly and Arcadia. Another opportunity for the mens volleyball team to show off, as well as protect our house. They’re on the road to their 10th national Championship. Springfield, are you ready to join them?