The nation’s top ranked, Springfield College Pride men’s volleyball team, defeated No. 10 New York University on Friday night in straight sets, 25-20, 25-23, 25-16.
Due to Springfield wrestling’s Friday Night Lights match, men’s volleyball resorted to a change of scenery. Usually on the hard court of Blake Arena, the Pride made the move to Dana Gym, which more often serves as a practice facility. Upon changing environments, the teams were even met with technical difficulties during the national anthem, where the Pride chimed in by signing the conclusion of the song. However, this change didn’t seem to the bother Springfield’s flow.
“Whichever gym we go into, whether it’s our own, or another team’s, or even our auxiliary gym we just make the atmosphere our own. I wouldn’t say that our play is dependent on where we’re at, but there is nothing like being at home,” Sean Zuvich said.
While the Pride have controlled the No. 1 spot all season long, NYU has recently dropped five places in the national poll.
The Pride opened the first set and found themselves at a three point deficit to the Violets, who displayed a high level of energy out of the gates. This energy propelled them to a 10-7 lead early on which forced head coach Charlie Sullivan to burn his first timeout. Out of the break, Springfield took control and tied the contest up at 12 causing an NYU timeout. The remainder of set one looked clinical for the Pride, going up 1-0.
Once the Pride got rolling in the opening frame, they didn’t allow the Violets to really make a dent in their lead until late into the second set. NYU reached within one of the Pride lead, forcing a timeout. At 23-20, the rapidly swinging arm of Ricardo Padilla Ayala created a kill. NYU would get one point back before Jasuta closed out the frame on an assist from setter Mike Neary.
The final set opened with an NYU lead, which quickly diminished. After being up 2-1, the Violets never regained control of the set and the Pride sailed to the finish line. Sergio Figueroa Velez’s block finished off NYU in the final switch, where the Pride only allowed 10 points.
Figueroa Velez posted a game-high seven digs for the Pride whilePadilla Ayala led Springfield with 10 total kills in the contest. Zuvich also added nine kills at a .333 clip to his stat line.
Following the victory, the Pride are 5-1 on the season and average 11.81 assists per set which is good for fourth in the nation. Springfield will travel to Harvard University on Monday, Jan. 29 to take on the Crimson for a 6pm start.
“Harvard is a really good and smart team. Their team cohesion is something that we see gets better every year,” Zuvich added. “They will get their kills, they will get their blocks, and they are big boys, but as long as we stay together as a team we’ll be alright.