By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College men’s volleyball team defeated Arcadia University in four sets in Dana Gymnasium on Friday night, advancing their record to 14-2 overall.
Youth is something they identify with.
The majority of their main contributors are first-years and sophomores, and that fact was emphasized on Friday night. Sophomore Brennen Brandow continued his consistent year with 14 kills, first-year Jarrett Anderson produced a characteristic 13 kills and classmate Liam York also had a spectacular performance, nailing 12 kills on a .526 hitting percentage.
“Our whole team’s very young, so that’s the trials and tribulations we’re going through – like a normal learning curve,” Head Coach Charlie Sullivan said. “We need everyone to contribute for sure. We’ll be firing on all cylinders.”
The two teams came into Friday night’s game trending in different directions.
Arcadia was coming off two straight sweep victories, meanwhile Springfield had come off their second loss of the year, along with a six-day layoff. The Knights showed exactly why they had not been swept all year.
They did not go away easily.
In fact, the largest margin of victory was in the lone set that Arcadia won. Springfield could not pull away by more than three points in any of their set victories. Even in the fourth set, down 16-11, when much hope felt lost for the Knights, they were able to take an 18-17 lead. The set remained back-and-forth, but resilience earned the Pride a 29-27 set victory.
“I thought what was particularly good about today was that it was a close game four, and we had a big lead that we choked, so that could have affected us mentally,” Sullivan said. “But they hung in there and had some good rallies at the end, so we were able to fight it out.”
Each set victory seemed to showcase a different player or group of players for Springfield College.
In the first set, York was proficient with 5 kills on a 1.000 hitting percentage. The third set featured Anderson playing an extremely key role with 7 kills. In the fourth set, Springfield found a flaw in Arcadia’s offense and countered it perfectly.
Down 8-6, Springfield earned four of their next five points via block, with Chris Parker contributing to all of them, and Anderson getting his hands on three of them.
“They started to get an idea of their offense. They were picking it up a little bit towards the end of the game,” Sullivan said. “So, they’re learning, they’re getting better which is great.”
Fittingly, Springfield’s hardest set victory was the final one, where momentum shifted rapidly.
After Arcadia took the 18-17 set lead, the Pride responded with three straight points. Then, down 22-20, the Knights stormed in front with three straight of their own. Next, the two teams traded point-for-point over nine serves until it was tied 27-27. A service ace by Brandow changed it all. What followed was Anderson’s 13th kill of the night, sealing the victory for the long set and the match.
The Pride are back at it on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Blake Arena, when they square off against Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Featured photo courtesy Joe Arruda