By Brady Cote
Emerging from the stands, loud cheers and applause was the only sound one could hear as the crowd’s voices echoed throughout Blake Arena as Ramapo College’s outside hitter, Joshua Caggiano’s spike soared across the court and into the bleachers.
This attempt to tie the match by the Roadrunners ultimately sealed the victory for the Pride as they closed out the third and final set 33-31.
Going shot for shot through service errors and tough offensive sets, each team gave its all. However, the Roadrunners fell short of Springfield’s team efforts. Looking like a well-oiled machine, the Pride extinguished any and all hopes of a fourth set this Tuesday night.
“Today we saw participation from everybody on the bench, which is great when the whole team is contributing,” said Johjan Mussa Robles. “The bench is our core. They’re the ones that pull us through tough matches.”
For every serve, bump, set, and spike, the Pride’s bench was loud and electric, which gave those players on the court extra support and energy down the stretch. It was that same intensity that allowed the Pride to outlast Ramapo while the crowd was at the edge of their seats in the final set.
Unfazed by the score, Springfield continued to keep its foot on the gas as the lead changed on multiple occasions. Even when it was match point in favor of the Roadrunners, the Pride dug deep and finished strong.
“We go through those scenarios a lot because we treat practice like it’s a game,” Mussa Robles said. “By going over that, it prepares us for that final set.”
The Pride applied the pressure prior to the final set by delivering a frightening offense that Ramapo simply could not handle.
Springfield took the first set, 25-18, as well as the second, 25-21. Tough offensive sets resulting in spikes by the Pride quickly became Ramapo’s kryptonite.
Adding another win to its column, the Pride’s bench rushed the court and celebrated with their teammates at the end of the final set. Filled with smiles and laughter, the team soaked up each and every second of their well-deserved victory.
“It was good for our guys to hang in there — still keeping composure and get those points,” said Coach Sullivan. “When you miss serves, as long as you win the rallies that you receive, you’re going to be fine.”
Winning the rallies when receiving is exactly what Springfield did as they struggled with service errors later in the night. Although these errors did give up points, the Pride buckled down and took them right back as they were solid on the defense — not letting up for even the most difficult offensive sets Ramapo had to offer.
Despite sweeping the Roadrunners, each set inched closer as Ramapo tried to stay within contention. Proving they could hang, Ramapo kept the Pride on its toes by almost stealing the third set.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on and get better at, but we’re just trying to grow every day as a team, by being cohesive and fundamentally sound because there’s still another level to get to,” Sullivan stated.
Closing out the night with a win, Springfield improves its overall record to an impressive 16-1 on a three-game winning streak.
“We got a real tough match this coming Thursday so we’ll be tested in a lot of ways so we’ll get in the drawing room tomorrow and see what happens.”
Heading into their next match against the New Paltz Hawks who currently stand 14-3 and rank No. 13 in the country, the Pride looks to carry over the intensity as they travel westward to New York this Thursday night.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics