Back to Back: Springfield College Wins 2nd-Straight NCAA D3 Title

  0 Braden Keith | April 29th, 2018 | College - Men's Indoor, Division III, News

Springfield College def. Stevens Institute of Technology 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-9)

  • Springfield College Pride wins 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship over Stevens Ducks
  • Host: Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Attendance: 550
  • Box Score

Springfield College won its 5th official NCAA Division III Championship in 7 appearances (and 7 possible titles) on Saturday in Kenosha, Wisconsin by avenging their 2015 sweep at the hands of Stevens. After a physically and emotionally taxing win in the semi-finals a night earlier, Stevens struggled to muster much attack offensively or resistance defensively, before eventually being swept away by Springfield.

Springfield College finishes the year 31-2 overall, including a perfect 29-0 against Division III opponents. Stevens ends the year 27-5 (27-3 in D3), marking their 12th season of 25 wins under head coach Patrick Dorywalski.

Springfield locked down its rotation to just 8 players for the championship game, and their star and AVCA National Player of the Year Sergio Figueroa Velez did what he’s done all season: played biggest in the biggest games. He had 13 kills and just 2 errors on 28 swings for a .293 hitting percentage. Coupled with 2 aces, 7 digs, and a block assist, his 15.5 points led all scorers with an all-around contribution to the victory.

He was joined in double-figures by Ricardo Padilla Ayala, who had 12 kills (.375 hitting). Sean Zuvich, who led the team with 11 kills in the semi-finals, had just 5 in the finals – but so powerful is the Pride’s nation-leading offense, that they still hit .351 even with limited contributions from him.

Meanwhile, the Springfield defense, using a 47-32 digs advantage, out-hit Stevens .351-.022. The result marked a new record in official NCAA D3 championship game defensive dominance. Springfield allowed both the fewest points and the lowest hitting percentage in the 7-year history of the event:

Losing Team Losing Team Points Lowest Set Score Losign Team Hitting Percentage
2018 Stevens 43 9 0.022
2017 New Paltz 91 21 0.145
2016 Springfield 90 18 0.276
2015 Springfield 62 20 0.167
2014 Juniata College 62 20 0.27
2013 Nazareth 53 13 0.133
2012 Carthage College 60 16 0.299

For Stevens, after a semi-final where they were able to take advantage of poor libero play from Dominican, they struggled to find the floor against Springfield. Still using a massive 14 player rotation, the Ducks had just 20 kills (with 18 errors) and no aces in the game. Their All-American outside hitters (they’ve got 5 All-Americans on the roster) struggled again, with the starters Gabe Shankweiler and Dylan DeBoer combining for 9 kills and a -.020 hitting percentage on 48 attempts. Cooper Diamond (4 kills on 10 swings) and Thomas Burrell (5 kills, 0 errors, on 11 swings) again were efficient offensively, but they didn’t get enough attempts to sway the match.

The Stevens offense further deteriorated by the match’s end, hitting -.067 in the 3rd and final set where they scored only 9 points.

Post-Match Press Conferences

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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