By Sam Leventhal
After a victory at Lasell, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team returned home to the Mecca and found victory in a match where the Pride dropped its first set of the season at home.
No. 1 Springfield took on No. 9 Marymount on Thursday night and the Pride glided to a 3-1 victory.
In an opening set that was plagued with service errors, totalling to 11 between both teams, Springfield prevailed. The teams seemed to be even from the start, as both traded points all the way up until a 18-15 scoreline. With Springfield in front and in possession, sophomore Kyle Jasuta put together a four point service run that propelled the Pride to a 25-20 set victory.
The Saints dug deep and found themselves in set two. Immediately out of the switch, spectators noticed a change on the court. The men from Marymount seemed to be much more confident and it showed in their play. Marymount experienced their first lead of the match at a 3-2 scoreline. With the Pride struggling to keep its serves in bounds, the Saints lead was growing rapidly. Growing as high as six, Marymount’s lead was kept through the bulk of set two. In need of a change, Springfield head coach Charlie Sullivan called upon Sean Zuvich who proved to create an impact throughout the rest of the night. The 6’7” senior finished the contest with 10 kills at a .667 clip.
“We have confidence that guys can step in and we don’t lose a beat. [Zuvich] has been training in the gym really hard and preparing himself for when we called on him, that he would be his best, and he did just that tonight,” Sullivan said. “Joseth [Irizarry Feliciano] is doing the same thing. I think we can go deep into our bench, be really effective, and play a really good style of volleyball.”
With the game in favor of the Saints at 21-16, Springfield senior Luis Vega floated a ball just high enough to reach over the peak of the wall and finding the floor for a crucial point late in the set. With that kill, junior Tucker Evans was sent back to serve and added a point on the hit. On his next serve, Evans experienced his fourth service error of the match. From there, a Saints attack error and a crafty kill from senior setter Luis Garcia Rubio would be the only other points Springfield would add in the set. Off of a deflection from Vega in the back row, the Pride would concede the Saint’s 25th point losing the set, 25-22.
In set three, Springfield didn’t look back coming out of the gate. The Pride were gaining two or three points for every Saints one. Springfield expanded their lead to 17-9 and the two teams began to trade points until an attack error from Marymount’s Ben Steranka ended the set in a Pride victory, 25-14.
Set four kicked off in another close battle. With the score at 7-6 in the Pride’s favor, Marymount was nowhere to be found. After Zuvich had another nailed a kill, the Pride saw a nine point service run from Irizarry Feliciano that shifted any momentum that the Saints held into full Springfield control. From there, it was smooth sailing for the Pride as they rode out a 25-13 set four victory, winning the match in four sets.
Ricardo Padilla Ayala contributed 11 kills at a .500 clip and five blocks to the contest. In addition, Jasuta added five kills, hitting .714 and tacked on two service aces.
Following the victory, the Pride have a week off before their match at Emmanuel on March 21.
“Even in the offseason there isn’t a single day off,” Zuvich said. “You’re always preparing mentally for every next step and we have a lot of good opportunities coming our way and I think our whole team is excited for those opportunities.”