By Daniela Detore
Friday April 28, Springfield College rallied together in maroon. With fifty minutes on the clock students and family began pouring into the stands of the the Springfield PE complex. In waves of maroon, the best showing of support the Pride have yet to see rallied behind men’s volleyball. The students and community of Springfield shook Blake Arena.
The countdown began. Waves turned into an ocean of maroon that moved to the rhythm of the scoreboard counting down.
The crowd rose to their feet. Unable to contain their excitement after the taste of what they saw during warm ups.
In a burst of excitement the bleachers erupted with emotion in anticipation for the dual between the Hunter College Hawks and our very own Springfield College Pride.
“They were pretty outrageous,” Kyle Jasuta said in response. “It was great energy that everyone relied on.”
Set one took off. The Hawks started with the ball faced with the challenge of serving the hungry Pride waiting on the other side of the net. Ricardo Padilla Ayala crushed a ball set to the outside from Luis Garcia Rubio for point number one. He then handled the next two points, stepping back to serve and collecting two aces. Propelling the Pride into motion, the atmosphere was electric.
Springfield continued to produce throughout set one, swings coming from Luis Vega in the backcourt and Sean Zuvich across the entire net. However, on the other side of the net we saw a relentless Hunter College defense. Springfield College struggling to find the floor, barely extending their lead from that of the Hawks.
It was veteran Zuvich that broke the game open.
The Hawks scrambled to keep the ball alive in the hopes of delivering it back over the net to the systematic offense of the Pride. A push to the deep corner by the Hawks Benjamin Cassidy is met by All-American Eli Irizarry Peres. Forcing the ball back to the net where i it met the hands of Luis Garcia Rubio is when Zuvich demand the ball.
A quick set in the opposite direction put the Hawks on their heels as Zuvich rose up from the back row and crushing a ball down the line, 19-11.
“They put the pressure on us,” said Springfield coach Charlie Sullivan about the dominant defense of the Hawks. Springfield on track to closing out set one is faced with the scrappy defense of Hunter College once more.
Until AVCA Div. III National Player of the Year Luis Vega earned what he deserved. Rising up out of the back row, he split the solid defense of the Hawks in half. Sergio Figueroa Velez finished off Hunter behind the service line with two back to back aces, closing out set one 25-13.
The way Figueroa Velez left off set one behind the service line, is the way the Springfield College Pride handled the remainder of the game. Collecting a total of 15 service aces throughout the match, six of which came from Ricardo Padilla Ayala.
Late in the second, Tucker Evans stepped back behind the service line. Lacing into a ball, the powerful serve off the hot hand of Evans finds Joseph Muir. Hunter return the ball back over the net, once again finding Irizarry Pares.
Placing the ball tight on the net it was a dual between setter Garcia Rubio and middle for the Hawks, Steven Tarquinio. Garcia Rubio with one hand took the ball out of the plane of the net and forced it behind hear Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez awaited it. With an open net to swing on Rodriguez Lopez punished the ball into the middle of the court. Accumulating 6 more kills, Rodriguez Lopez hit .625 on the match, spraying the court in all angles, where the Hawks defenders were not.
In response to the efforts of Garcia Rubio and Rodriguez, Evans stepped behind the service line one more time. At 23-12, Evans rips into another ball. Kissing the sideline for an ace, Hunters serve receive was no match. Closing out set two, 25-13 behind the success of Evans at the service line.
The game met its climax in set three. At 6-4 Springfield leading, Vega reaching new heights rose up out of the back row with a menacing attack caught the defenders for the Hawks by surprise. Blistering a ball into the face of the opposing team. The crowd of Springfield College saw enough. The game was in the hands of the Pride.
“Springfield has been the number one team all year, they deserve it,” claimed the Hunter College men’s volleyball coach Austin Voges. In a 3-0 sweep, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team topped the Hunter Hawks. The Friday victory propelled the Pride into Saturday’s match where they will face the winner of Dominican College vs. Stevens Institute of Technology.