After the devastation of the hurricane that struck Puerto Rico just months ago, the Pride men’s volleyball team along with their supporters dedicated their match against the Milwaukee School of Engineering on April 5 to Puerto Rico Relief Awareness; a game that that ended with Springfield on top, 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-12).
“It’s really special with all of the guys we have from Puerto Rico and how much their families have been affected,” Springfield College head coach Charlie Sullivan said. “When they’re here this is their family away from home so if we can support them and help them through a difficult time and carry out the purpose of the day which is to raise awareness so that others can still remember that nothing’s really still back to normal down there.”
The 3-0 victory on Thursday evening is the Pride’s 26th victory of the season, with their only loss coming in their opening match on the west coach to Concordia Irvine. Out of 27 total matches in the 2018 season, Springfield swept their opposition in 22 contests. The play that looks effortless on the hardwood come match day, isn’t the same on off days in the gym.
“We’re just dealing with how to get better and how we can have more of a rally-to-rally focus,” Sullivan added.
The Pride opened up the scoring in the first set and returned points back-and-forth with the Raiders until a kill by Springfield’s Kyle Jasuta began the momentum for a 13-to-7 run. A service error from MSOE’s Bryant Holland ended the set one in favor of the Pride, 25-18.
The second frame opened in favor of the Pride again and senior Tucker Evans added an ace to his stat line to put the Pride up two. Just a few points later, Sergio Figueroa Velez tooled the MSOE block to make the scoreline 8-5 and force the Raiders into their first timeout of the set. Out of the timeout, Figueroa Velez registered back-to-back aces to extend the Pride lead to five. Later in the set, the Pride lead was cut to one, but a slick right-handed tip from junior setter Mike Neary gave Springfield set point. The set concluded with a service error by MSOE’s Jake Christensen.
The Pride took control from the start in the final frame. A block from Zuvich and fellow senior Joseth Irizarry Feliciano forced the Raiders into another timeout. At a 21-10 scoreline, an attack error from MSOE’s libero Danny Martens put the Pride three points away. Just a couple of points later, Figueroa Velez collected a block and sent Jasuta to the service line. Off of the Raider’s return, Figueroa Velez rose up and found the open floor for the final kill of the match.
Coming off of their 26th consecutive victory, the Pride will play host to Ramapo and MIT on Saturday, April 7 before their final regular season game against NJIT.
Featured photo courtesy of Springfield college Athletics.