No. 1 Springfield College rolled to a 3-0 victory over No. 10 New York University on Saturday afternoon at home in the first game of a double header with NYU and York College.
Ricky Vega paced the Pride with 22 [JB1] kills while Keaton Pieper added 52 [JB2] assists. Ryan Malone and Jimmy O’Leary each tallied 10 kills for Springfield, who won their second straight contest after beginning the season 0-3.
“We wanted to focus on our side of the net to start, and then accumulate some information to add to the match. I thought we did a good job,” said head coach Charlie Sullivan.
The Pride battled throughout the first set, taking advantage of NYU miscues and booming kills of their own for the set victory.
With Springfield holding a 14-12 lead, O’Leary rocketed home a kill to give the Pride their largest lead of the set. On the following point, NYU’s strike attempt went straight into the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy and giving the Pride the momentum.
NYU would rally back and take a 19-18 lead after blocking a pair of Springfield kill attempts. Springfield answered quickly, however, using a failed block attempt by NYU to tie the game and then taking advantage of a close call to go ahead 20-19. NYU attempted a spike on Springfield, only to have the ball be blocked. The ball tickled the out-of-bounds line in front of the NYU bench, and was ruled inbounds.
NYU went ahead 21-20 after a dig by Springfield went flying into the rafters, bouncing on multiple beams before dropping down. Pieper successfully saved the ball while reaching into the crowd, but the ball was ruled out and NYU was given the point.
Springfield wasted little time taking the lead back, using a ferocious spike from Malone to tie the game at 21 and taking advantage of a failed spike attempt to take a 22-21 lead.
From there, senior Nick Ferry made a diving dig to save the ball for Springfield, before a failed block attempt gave the Pride the 23-22 lead. A failed a spike attempt gave Springfield the game point before a long-distance spike dropped in for the 25-22 set victory.
Springfield dominated the second set, jumping out to a 5-0 start en route to a 25-11 set win. The Pride tallied 28 kills, 26 assists and 10 digs in the set, overpowering the No. 10 Violets. Vega soared throughout the set, floating in the air time after time while claiming 11 of the Pride’s 28 kills.
In the third set, NYU appeared to have caught a second breath of air, battling with the Pride throughout. While the match was close, the Pride had a hold on the Violets at all times. After trading points to begin, the Pride went on an 8-4 run, using multiple spikes and blocks, as well as an ace, to down NYU and claim the first game of the doubleheader.
“We were practicing all week on our goals for centers, on attacking, setting, focusing on our stuff,” said Vega. “If I get sets, we’ve been working on getting kills.”
Following the match-up with York College on Saturday night, the Pride begin a four-game road trip before returning on February 8 to face Kean and Daniel Webster.