“We never got over this little hurdle we were trying to jump over,” explained coach Charlie Sullivan.
In a 3-0 sweep over Springfield College, Stevens Institute of Technology stole the tenth, the year was 2015.
The year 2016, brought a 20-game win streak. It brought a takedown of Stevens Institute of Technology, the victor of the NCAA tournament in 2015, in the 2016 semi-final. Propelling the Pride to the National Championship for the 7th year in a row. This is where they faced the team who ended their 20-game win streak and who gave them their three losses on the season. The third being the National Championship.
“Lets see what happens next,” was all Sullivan could say about the loss to New Paltz State.
Like a baton that has been passed off, from fall to winter, and finally to spring. Spring began the birth of something new. It bloomed from branches and it filled the air. It chirped in the trees and crawled through the grass. Its sound echoed throughout the bleachers and Its shoes squeaked on the hardwood of Blake Arena. Spring bought us something new.
Friday, Feb. 3rd, the Pride shared their home opener with the community during the annual Morgan Games to honor William G. Morgan, founder of volleyball. It wasn’t the snow that blanketed the campus in white, it was the students rallying behind the men’s volleyball team at the beginning of their journey to their tenth National Championship, which was set to be hosted by Springfield College.
In three straight sets, the Pride took down the Kean State Cougars, the next victim being Vassar. Week after week, teams walked onto the campus of Springfield College hoping that they too can take a title, a game or even a set from Springfield. Its been done before, so why not them too?
However, in the 2017 season, there was only one dropped set, on those sacred hardwoods of Blake Arena.
This is when maroon started to look a lot like redemption, and Springfield began to sound a lot like revenge.
Powering through the month of February without dropping a single set, Wednesday March 1st brought about a “little hurdle”. The Springfield College men’s volleyball team traveled to the grounds of the New Paltz Hawks. Dropping three games to this one team, the season before.
“A set back, is a great set up for a comeback.” claimed senior Sean Zuvich. The Pride walked away from that game victorious in a 3-1 win. Later in the season, Springfield played the Hawks at home, once again being on top in a 3-0 sweep.
Finishing their season with a 26-2 record, the Pride was ranked the number one seed heading into the NCAA tournament hosted in the halls of the Birthplace.
Seventeen weeks in a row, Springfield College men’s volleyball has captures the No.1 vote by the AVCA coaches poll. Within those seventeen weeks, the Pride extended the longest running win streak of volleyball history with 25 straight games won. The men went through the entire month of February not dropping a single set. The Pride landed a program best, Five AVCA All-American selections, in conclusion to their season. Going into the tournament hosted by our very own, it was by no surprise Springfield captured the top spot in the bracket.
It may seem fitting, the last two National Championships have been lost on the road, while the team is hungry for their tenth. Just for the opportunity to arise of Springfield College hosting the tournament in 2017. The Pride has an opportunity to earn the programs tenth National Championship and to bring home the title, at home.
“The atmosphere at NCAA’s is always electric”, senior Trevor Mattson says in anticipation for the championship weekend. At the season opener for the Pride, eight-hundred plus people packed out the stadium of Blake Arena. The bleachers were packed with people who rallied behind the Pride, and encouraged them to go after what they deserve. The tenth.
With nine National Championship’s, the tenth being left unanswered. The the Pride isn’t answering to the challenge, the Springfield College Pride is running to the roar.
Coming off of one of the most successful season in program history, the dynamic of the team seems to be a little different.
“This is the most diverse team Springfield College [men’s volleyball] has yet to have, even though that could be a weakness, we have bonded [more].” Eighteen players from all over the country as far as Puerto Rico and California. To players in neighboring states such as New York, all brought together for one purpose, Springfield College.
Springfield College volleyball places immense value on legacy. It hasn’t been about who’s in the now, its value is in who came before. To the 9 championship teams that came before, the tenth is more for them and coach Charlie Sullivan, then it will be for the 18 members of the Pride. So much seems to be at stake for the Pride.
Senior Zuvich shares, “The last time we won [the National Championship], I was a freshman. Now I’m looking to finish my career the way I started it.”