Riding a three-gamewinning streak into the contest against Dominican (Illinois), the Springfield College men’s volleyball team needed the extra spark that would help extend the winning streak.
Ryan Malone, who was second on the team in kills with 126, left the team to continue to pursue his soccer career. Junior Greg Woods was a solid contributor that had the utmost potential to take his game to the next level.
“Coach (Sullivan) has told me all year, just keep working. You’re close, you’re close, you’re close, but you’ve got to keep working,” said Woods.
Woods started off his impressive campaign with 15 kills against Emmanuel on February 28th and exploded with a career-best 24 kills on March 3rd against in-state rival MIT.
Fast forward back to this Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena, as Woods led Springfield with 13 kills in the sweep over Dominican (25-17, 25-17, 25-23).
“I attribute my success to my teammates and my coach. They’re at the point where they can trust me. They know I’m going to take care of the ball,” said Woods.
Woods success did indeed come from his teammates as well. Setter Keaton Pieper had a strong 31 assists and Jason Mascoe put in a good effort with four kills and four blocks. Freshmen Ricardo Padilla chipped in with six kills.
Despite earning the sweep, Springfield’s 12th victory of the season (12-5) didn’t come easy. The Stars produced the first two points in the third set and then found themselves having the 9-7 lead.
Mason Solbrig led the Stars with seven kills on eight attempts.
“I thought it was a good focus match for us,” said Head Coach Charlie Sullivan.
Springfield had to make an adjustment during the third set and see if it would make an impact.
“We made some personnel lineup adjustments, so we had to kind of adjust to their (Dominican’s) lineup,” said Sullivan.
The Pride battled back and created an 11-2 run that gave them a high chance of finishing off the sweep. Being down 22-15, Dominican pushed for one last punch at Springfield and went on an 8-3 run of their own. Clinging to the 24-23 lead, Angel Perez (six kills) had the kill considered to be the dagger that ended the contest.
Having the balance of great attacking but also solid defense became another element for the Pride to use in order to put away the Stars. Woods and Mascoe teamed up on several occasions, blocking the Dominican attackers. Both Pride players had four blocking attempts, causing havoc to their opponents attack.
“Coach is a mastermind when it comes to blocking schemes, so he puts us in the right place,” said Woods. “Jason and I are just really trying to carry out his master plan, if you will.”
Moving forward, the Pride is aware that every opponent is going to come out hungry and want to beat them.
“This is everybody’s ‘Super Bowl’ when they come to Blake Arena,” said Woods. “They want to play us, they want to see us lose, and that’s what really drives us and makes us play better.”