By Sam Leventhal
Staff Writer/Photo Editor
The No. 1 Springfield College men’s volleyball team opened Saturday’s events with a victory over Wells college, a match that led to another Pride sweep. In their second game of the day, Springfield faced off against the Lasell College Lasers, the nation’s No. 12 team. The Pride would complete yet another sweep, making it their eighth straight 3-0 victory, adding up to 24 consecutive set wins.
“We knew Lasell is a good team, they’ve been playing really well and we knew we had to play at a high level versus them and be really aggressive,” head coach Charlie Sullivan said.
The Pride completed their victory with a total of 42 kills, 21 coming from the high-flying arms of Luis Vega and Ricardo Padilla Ayala, at a .536 clip. In addition, sophomores Kyle Jasuta and Eli Irrizarry Pares were solid all night long. Jasuta registered seven kills and three blocks and Pares added nine digs.
“Eli is getting a lot better defensively, he’s working hard at it in practice,” Sullivan said. “These guys have a really good focus in the gym to take things they aren’t doing well and make them better.”
Springfield opened the scoring in set one by jumping out to a 2-0 lead. A service ace from senior Luis Vega put the Pride up 3-1, but Lasell got one of their own from Vega’s next serve. After winning possession back, Sergio Figueroa Velez stepped to the line and put down back-to-back aces giving Springfield a 7-1 lead. The Pride added another five aces before closing out the set on a Lasers service error, 25-13.
Lasell jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, finding an answer early on for the powerful serves of Vega and Figueroa Velez. Lasell kept up with Springfield, trading points back-and-forth until a kill by senior Trevor Mattson would begin the Pride’s four-point burst. Later in the set, setter Luis Garcia Rubio found a hole in the middle of the Lasers defense and snuck through one of his two kills in the match. Padilla Ayala then closed out the set with a kill of his own, just beating the hands of the Lasell wall. The Pride found their first lead of the set at 9-8 and only allowed the Lasers to gain another six points before rolling to a 25-14 set victory on a dominant .727 hitting percentage.
Behind the efforts of Vega, the Pride opened set three up 1-0. In the set, Lasell came as close as within two points in the set at a 15-13 score line off a service error from Padilla Ayala, but the Pride would prevail. A block by Mattson, Vega, and sophomore Jonathan Rodriguez would hold a 17-14 lead. Two points later, Vega then followed up his block assist with his 11th kill of the match. To end the day, Springfield found their broomsticks and completed the sweep by a score of 25-18 off a kill from Padilla Ayala.
On the hinges of the serving by Figueroa Velez, Vega, Padilla Ayala, and Tucker Evans, Springfield finished their second game of the day with 9 aces.
“I didn’t think Lasell had very many holes in their serve receive, so we had to be really good back there too. We’re just trying to do our best back there and control what we can control and be aggressive.
With the win, the Pride are 13-1 on the season and have not dropped a set since they faced New York University on Jan. 28 in Brooklyn. Springfield looks to continue their incredible feat at the nation’s No. 8 Vassar College on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 6pm.