By Sam Leventhal
With adrenaline rushing through their veins after a five set victory over the nation’s No. 7 Wentworth, the Hunter College Hawks were set to face off against the Springfield College Pride, who are the top team Division III men’s volleyball.
Springfield asserted its dominance, never giving the Hawks a scent of victory as it put together the best offensive performance in all of men’s college volleyball this season. With a .692 hitting percentage over the course of the match, the Pride finished with another sweep by the scores of 25-13, 25-16, 25-13.
“We came out early to try to watch some of [the previous] game and scout out Hunter. We were able to slow them [Hunter] down with our middles and it was just a game of serve and pass from there,” senior Trevor Mattson said. “There was a lot of really strong serving today and that’s what carried us through.”
Mattson finished the day with a .750 clip on nine kills in 12 attempts from the floor. Leading the way was Ricardo Padilla Ayala who had a match-high 12 kills on a .688 hitting percentage and added three aces to the score sheet.
Coming off of a four set victory at New Paltz St., Springfield flew right out of the gate and amounted a 9-6 lead on the hinges of Padilla Ayala. From there, the set was fully in Springfield’s control. The Pride propelled themselves to 25-13 set one victory on a Kyle Jasuta kill. Springfield showed the most success in set one, registering a .750 hitting percentage.
Set two was kicked off by Padilla Ayala who entered a three point service run to begin the set. From there, the Pride started to create a window of separation, but Hunter eventually cut into that lead, chopping it down to just two points at 16-14. From there, Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez sparked the Pride’s five-point surge, which featured three consecutive attack errors from the Hawks. Finally, the powerful strike from Padilla Ayala sent the game into set three as Springfield went up 2-0 by a score of 25-16.
Sets one and two were commanded by the Pride, and set three proved to hold the same trend. Hitting at a .722 clip, the Pride entered a 5-2 run early in the set making the score 12-8. Later in the set, the Pride developed a 20-13 lead and Garcia Rubio headlined a six-point streak to seal the deal with two aces from behind the service line to add to his 36 assists.
“It’s a really light match when, as a pin hitter, you’re only taking 12 swings,” Mattson said. “It just means that we’re doing a very efficient job of putting the ball away. Luis is putting the ball in a really good spot for me to be able to get kills.”
On Tuesday, the Pride head to Newton, Mass. to face the Lasell Lasers for the second time this season. The last time these two teams played each other, Springfield was amidst its 33 consecutive set win streak.
“It’s a big match for us,” Mattson added. “Lasell’s a really good team and they’ve been bringing some good competition. I think they’ve held us to some of the lowest hitting percentages on the year so far.”