BOSTON, Mass. – The No. 1 ranked Pride of Springfield College escaped Tansey Gymnasium with a 3-0 win over the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team on Tuesday evening in non-conference action.
Despite the outcome, the Leopards didn't go quietly, as Springfield came out on top with narrow 25-17, 25-19, and 25-21 set victories. Each set was closely contested between the two highly skilled teams, as the Pride took early action in the first frame with a 5-0 run on four straight kills from sophomore Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, P.R.). Eli Irizarry Pares led the Pride with seven kills in the first set, as the early run put Springfield ahead and were never threatened the rest of the way for the 25-17 final.
As the match resumed, Wentworth continued to add on to their set total from the one prior, battling Springfield early in the middle set which saw four quick set ties. Springfield was able to push the gap to a three-point lead, 11-8, following a kill by Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.), but a 5-2 run from the Leopards deadlocked the score again, this time 13-13, after an ace from senior Brian Drouse (Dallas, Pa.). The Pride quickly regained the upper hand, capitalizing on two WIT miscues, and never surrendered the lead until match-point, despite Wentworth pulling within a single point on three separate occasions.
In a neck-and-neck battle, both teams put up their best offensive numbers in the final set, highlighted by .414 hitting from the Pride. The Leopards trailed by as many as five points (11-6) but used a kill apiece from junior Ryan Love (Gaithersburg, Md.) and sophomore Sean Spencer (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) alongside a block from Drouse and junior Augusto Rodriguez-Guerrios (San Juan, P.R.) to pull within two, 13-11. Wentworth continued its surge on all sides of the court, keeping the gap at two, and then at one following a Ryan Engel (Floral Park, N.Y.) kill, but the Pride stayed focused and never surrendered the lead for the match sweep.
Love, recently named GNAC Player of the Week, hit .321 with 10 kills, while Engel recorded 10 in the effort as well. GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Peter Klembczyk (Penfield, N.Y.) led a strong defensive team effort with nine digs, while Rodriguez-Guerrios dished out 20 assists.
Two members of the Pride reached double figures in kills, led by a game-high 12 kills from Eli Irizarry Pares. Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) recorded 10 kills, while Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) hit .400 with nine kills and three errors on 15 swings. The Pride held a 40-22 margin in digs, as eight apiece came from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, P.R.) and Brandow. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares also recorded 32 dimes as Springfield's primary setter.
Wentworth hits the road for the first time since its season-opener for its next match on Tuesday, February 12th. The Leopards will take the short trip over to Emmanuel for a GNAC contest slated for 7:00 p.m.
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