New York, N.Y. - January 28, 2014 - Senior Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) posted 13 kills at a .750 clip to go along with a match-high seven blocks to guide the Springfield College men's volleyball team to a four-set win at Hunter College on Tuesday evening. Springfield won by the set scores of 25-21, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15.
The Pride were once again ranked No. 1 in the country in today's AVCA Division III National Poll and have won four straight matches to improve to 4-3. The Hawks, playing in their home opener and against their fourth-straight nationally-ranked team to begin the season, dropped to 0-4.
Springfield picked up its 30th-straight win over a Division III opponent behind the outstanding play of O'Leary in the middle. Sophomore Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) registered a match-high 15 kills and Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) directed the attack with 50 assists and chipped in four blocks. Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) was credited with nine digs and Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) notched 12 kills.
For the night, the Pride hit just .288 despite totaling 30 more kills in the match than the hosts. Springfield was hampered by 23 service errors, but benefited from limiting the Hawks to a .011 hitting percentage.
Matthew Ng paced the Hawks with 10 kills, and Nino Hot totaled eight kills of his own. Steven Tarquinio controlled the net with a team-best six blocks and Stanley Martinez handed out 21 assists.
In the opening set, the Pride trailed 17-16 but was able to put together a 5-0 burst behind a play of O'Leary, as he accounted for a solo stuff and and kill to put the visitors ahead 21-17. Pieper connected with Shaun Ermi (Rush, N.Y.) in the middle to close out the first, 25-21.
Springfield had a much stronger start in the second frame, roaring out to a 16-8 lead following a big swing from Vega. Hunter didn't back down and held off five set points and back-to-back Hot kills brought the score to 24-20. On the ensuing point, the Pride's Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.) provided Springfield with a two-set advantage as he hammered home a kill.
The third set was the closest throughout as it featured 12 ties and and six lead changes. With the score tied at 18 apiece, Martinez ripped consecutive aces to force Springfield into a timeout. The Pride would eventually reclaim a 23-22 lead following O'Leary's seventh kill of the set, but miscues proved to be costly as back-to-back Springfield hitting errors gave the hosts a 25-23 victory.
Facing an early 9-8 deficit, Springfield regrouped and scored 10 of the next 12 points, using a kill from Perez to cap of the burst with the score 18-11. The Pride continued to keep the pressure up and closed out the four-set victory with Malone's fourth kill of the set.
Springfield will face its toughest Division III test this Saturday as it travels to play 8th-ranked Rivier as well as Johnson and Wales. Rivier advanced to the NCAA Final Four a year ago and will be taking on Springfield it its home-opener.