Men's Sports Sports

Springfield men’s volleyball passes big test in sweep over No. 7 New Paltz St.

By Nick Pantages

The Springfield College men’s volleyball team was honored with the No. 4 ranking in the country this week in the AVCA Coaches Poll, but they really lacked a big name win. 

The Pride found its premier win early in the season with their win over New Paltz St. in straight sets (25-22, 25-19, 25-16) Wednesday night at Blake Arena. 

New Paltz St. came in holding the No. 7 position in the polls, at just a couple of ticks behind Springfield. However, this did not phase Coach Sullivan and his squad, as they won soundly. 

“We just try to take care of things ourselves,” Sullivan said. 

At the forefront of this was first-year setter Dylan Mulvaney. Mulvaney accumulated 26 assists, and despite his four-inch height differential to most of the front-line players for the Pride, a team-high four total blocks. 

“He’s more of a giver than a taker,” Sullivan said. “We have a lot of people who like to give and support everyone, and [Mulvaney] is one of those guys.”

Preseason All-American and the lone senior on the roster, Jarrett Anderson, set the tone early in the first set, with a powerful kill and consecutive service aces to give Springfield an early lead in the set they would not relinquish. 

Anderson had eight of his team-high 11 kills in the first set, along with two aces in service, propelling Springfield to win the ever-important first set. 

The Pride set the tone early in the second set, with back-to-back kills by Noah Weislo sandwiched between attacking errors from New Paltz St. Attacking errors were a theme in this game, as the Pride committed just six to the Hawks’ 21. 

“We had a little too many errors last Saturday, so that was an internal approach, how we get that down and learn to be more efficient,” Sullivan said. 

This gave the Pride a lead they would hang on to, as whenever the Hawks cut the lead down to three points, they just couldn’t seem to stay out of their own way. With the score 21-18, another unforced error for the Hawks gave Springfield service up four, and Anderson took the life out of New Paltz St. with a booming ace, followed by a Weislo kill that struck a Hawks player in the face. 

The rowdy students that packed the bleachers of Blake Arena erupted as Chris Rouleau’s kill gave the Pride the almost insurmountable 2-0 lead against a fellow top-10 opponent. 

Mulvaney’s defensive ability combined with the length of middle blockers Rouleau and DeCamp forced nine attacking errors from New Paltz St. in the third set, leading to a swift 25-16 victory in the final set. 

Sullivan said, “We got a lot of young guys here learning what blocking is like against a really good offense, and we just always try to get better at what we are doing.”

Once again, after an even start, Springfield pulled away, scoring six out of eight points to go up 10-6. After a deadlocked set following that score, the Pride scored four points in a row to push their lead to 20-11, and they held form to win 25-16. 

The Pride hopes the victory serves as a catapulting point, as it is their second win in a row after losing to the No. 1 team in the country, Stevens. 

“We know [New Paltz St.] is a good team, but we talked a lot on how we approach the game and doing a good job of controlling what we can control,” Sullivan said. 

With this win, the Pride improved to 5-1 on the season, and their next opportunity to hit the court comes on a double-header at Blake Arena on Feb. 4 against Rivier and SUNY Potsdam, at 3:00 and 7:00 respectively.

Photo: Springfield College Athletics

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