By Gage Nutter
Luis Vega has been apart of some talented volleyball teams at Springfield College. In Vega’s four years competing on the team, the Pride has amassed a total record of 110-20, along with a national championship in his freshmen and sophomore year.
In Springfield’s second round win over Hunter on Friday in the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball tournament, Vega finished with 11 kills while hitting 78%.
He contributes his success during the match to his supportive teammates.
“My teammates push me all the time,” Vega said. “I always try to step it up for them. If we pass well we can let [Luis Garcia Rubio] run the offense. We are lucky to have him.”
Vega is talkative on the court. Especially in a sport like volleyball, communication is key, and Vega has embraced the role of communicator to the best of his ability.
“[Luis] took on a role early on in the fall during our non-traditional season and brought a vocal attitude,” Springfield head coach Charlie Sullivan said. “I think the rest of the guys caught on and out of that we have had some pretty unique things happen in our culture and the way we vocalize things. He has done a great job influencing others in a vocal way and it resonates with our whole group.”
Vega was recently named the AVCA Division III National Player of the Year. When asked about the accolade, he was quick to credit it to his teammates.
“This sport is not individual,” Vega said. “All that we have been doing all season long has been because of the team. I am happy to have them pushing me every day so I can succeed individually, but it always comes down to teamwork.”
Teamwork is stressed heavily in the game of volleyball, and Vega is a spokesperson for it. But if there is one individual goal that he wants to reach before he hands up his uniform, it’s to get that elusive third national championship ring.
“In the past classes they all have multiple national championships, and that’s my goal,” Vega said. “That is something individually that I have on my own.”
He believes that the team has the capacity to achieve that goal because of the units tight bond and stout defense.
The Pride have suffered heartbreaking losses in the national championship the last two years. Losing to New Paltz, 3-1 last year and Stevens, 3-0 in 2015, Vega feels like he and the rest of the team has what it takes to get the team over the hump and back on top.
“I feel like the defense and the team cohesion we have [will lead us to success],” Vega said. “We get along even more and we have learnt from past mistakes. Every time we are on the court we put our maximum effort forward.”