The Estonia team was comprised of 10 players with experience on their national team, and two others who play for their junior national team.
The Pride has captured three of the last four Division III National Championships, including the last two NCAA national titles. The game marked the first time that a Springfield College athletics team has been broadcast internationally. The match was streamed live on ESPN3, the online member of the ESPN family of networks.
Springfield, competing as the first Division III institution to ever represent the United States in the Games, was led by the standout play of Luis Vega. Vega, this year’s NCAA Division III Championship Most Outstanding Player, pounded out a team-best 10 kills to go along with a pair of blocks. Ryan Quesenberry tallied six kills and two blocks, while Jimmy O’Leary posted four kills of his own. Defensively, Nick Ferry was sensational, totaling nine digs and bringing the crowd to its feet on a number of occasions with his play.
In the opening set, a Mike Pelletier ace painted the sideline as the teams were knotted at six in the early going. Estonia’s block provided a huge defensive wall all afternoon and helped the squad gain a 19-14 lead. However, Team USA would not go away quietly, as two timely blocks from Vega and a stuff from Quesenberry and Greg Falcone brought the Americans within one at 22-21. Despite the tremendous rally, Estonia recorded a block on a USA back-row attack to take the set, 25-22.
Team USA owned an early 3-2 lead in the second, but that was short lived as the Estonians continued to be extremely efficient on the offensive side of the ball. Never really threatened in the frame, Estonia won its second set of the afternoon, 25-17.
In the third, the United States used its defense to set the tone, and a block from Pelletier and O’Leary allowed the Americans to take an 8-7 lead at the technical timeout. Vega hammered a ball cross court to keep things close at 14-13 in favor of Estonia, only to have Estonia close out the match on an 11-5 surge.
Team USA will next play Belarus on Sunday at 6:00 PM local time, 10:00 am EST. This match will not be broadcast, so for in-game updates be sure to follow @SCMVB_TeamUSA to stay informed.