By Joe Arruda
The No. 1 Springfield College men’s volleyball team swept Nichols in a scrappy Thursday evening match inside Blake Arena. Up 11-5 in the third set, after already winning the first two, Springfield junior Jarrett Anderson took a spot he loves behind the service line.
Anderson tossed the ball into the air, reached back with his left hand and followed through with frightening power. The ball sailed on a frozen rope to the Nichols back line, colliding with the hardwood. Three times in a row.
The next point went to Springfield after a kill from Brennen Brandow, but Anderson shot back another ace on his ensuing serve to give him four aces in five attempts and a team-high five for the match. After giving the Pride a 15-5 lead in what proved to be the final set, Anderson was substituted for first-year Giancarlo Carrion.
A 25-16 third-set win completed a turnaround from a sloppy start to the match for Springfield.
“Since the beginning, (Head Coach Charlie Sullivan) has laid the foundation for us to be able to just play on our own,” libero Johjan Mussa Robles said. “(Sullivan)’s obviously a big part of our culture, he sets the standard, and we just wanted to be out there and show him that he had laid the foundation and we can carry it forward.”
The Pride came out slow with a first set that featured 13 tied scores and six lead changes, but the maroon and white found itself on top in the end, 25-23. Springfield bounced back with a strong second set and carried the momentum through to the end.
“In the first set we were just a little bit all over the place. They were getting some good balls, they were being scrappy. We weren’t as scrappy as we wanted to be,” Mussa Robles said. “But in the second set I think we just reset it. Came into it like, ‘Let’s play in our system and everything will fall into place.'”
Another strong effort from Anderson, who finished with a team-high eight kills on a .615 hitting clip, allowed for a glimpse into the future of Springfield volleyball. With a grip on a solid lead in the final set, Springfield was able to sub in some of the more inexperienced student-athletes on its roster for some valuable playing time.
“They’re putting in the work, in practice they’re doing so well. Just fun to see them get their feet in the water and just getting some playing time,” Mussa Robles said. “It’s fun for us to see as a whole team because every single player on this team matters to us and it’s just fun watching them be able to play.”
This weekend, an undermanned Pride roster will welcome No. 3 Stevens and unranked Rivier University to Alden Street for a testy tri-match. Springfield will take on Stevens at 3 p.m. before closing the night with Rivier at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“We always know that every single game is going to be a battle, and we’re ready for a battle,” Mussa Robles said. “We missed the guys that are not here and we are playing for them. We’re playing for Coach, we’re playing for every single person on the team and we are ready for a battle. Every single person on this team has the ability to be out there, perform and step up.”
Photo by Joe Arruda/The Student