Three championships and a second place finish in the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Tournament. These are the Springfield results since the seniors chose to attend Springfield College in 2012. Now, it’s that time again for the Pride to make their return to the bracket.
The volleyball powerhouse, ranked number two in the nation, is facing off against Kean University in the quarterfinal round on April 22nd at Nazareth College where the men will get one last ride together, where all of their hard work will come to the final test.
The 2015-16 season proved to be very successful. The Pride finished the regular season with a .897 win percentage and an overall record of 26-3; good enough for a second seed placement in the national tournament. Springfield looks to have big performances from All-American’s Luis Vega, Luis Garcia Rubio, Ricardo Padilla Ayala and Julian Welsh-White as well as senior leaders Greg Woods and Eric Johnson.
The talent from Springfield posed to be a struggle for their competition averaging 12.97 kills per set, 12.16 assists per set and 2.49 blocks per set; which is good for a top five placement in the three categories among all Division III volleyball programs. More impressively, Springfield finished the regular season with the best hitting percentage in the nation at .386.
Despite being at the top of the table in many statistical categories, there have been a couple teams that have gotten the better of the Pride this season. Concordia University Irvine took down Springfield early in the season and first ranked SUNY New Paltz handed the Pride a pair of defeats. It’s safe to say that the road to the championship is never easy and this year is definitely no exception. “This is the toughest field we’ve ever been involved in for the national championship. There’s never been a harder field. The teams are getting better; everyone’s getting good players and everyone’s doing a good job. We’re going to have a very big task at our hands to even win a match here,” head coach Charlie Sullivan said.
Springfield’s success isn’t based solely off of talent, just like any other successful team in sports. A team must have leadership and create chemistry. “We call it cohesion. Without cohesion, a team is nothing and it can’t really work effectively, so our team chemistry is good and improves throughout the entire year. I feel like it’s at the point where everybody gels on and off the court,” senior captain Greg Woods said. Whether it’s team dinners, practice and lift, or just friends hanging out with friends you can most likely find the volleyball team together, and that has been their key to success.