volleyball-men-d3 flag

Springfield Athletics | April 26, 2015

Career night

2015 DIII Men's Volleyball Championship: Semifinal Recap

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Led by a career performance from Greg Woods, Springfield advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship after a four-set victory against Nazareth on Saturday evening. The Pride won by set scores of 27-29, 25-21, 25-19 and 25-18.

Second-seeded Springfield owns a 25-6 record and has won its past 17 Division III matches dating back to Feb. 14. Nazareth falls to 28-7 this season and advanced to the semifinals as the No. 6 seed.

This marks the seventh time in the past eight years that Springfield has advanced to the national title match.

Woods put together a performance for the ages, registering a career-high 28 kills at a staggering .610 clip, while Ricardo Padilla Ayala totaled 16 kills, seven digs, three aces and three blocks. Keaton Pieper was masterful running the offense to a .400 team hitting percentage as he collected 50 assists and eight digs. Angel Perez chipped in 11 kills and six digs. Joseth Irizarry Feliciano racked up a match-high six blocks and Ryan Malone posted a match-best 10 digs.

After Springfield opened the match with the first two points, Nazareth responded with six unanswered points to gain an early four-point cushion following a Golden Flyer ace. Woods buried a ball in transition to even things at nine apiece, but the Golden Flyers' lead would grow to four on a five occasions, the last coming at 19-15. Tucker Evans provided a huge spark from the service line, helping lead Springfield on a 7-1 run that pushed the Pride's lead to 22-20. The Golden Flyers battled back to tie things at 23, but Springfield would gain four set points, only to have a block from Kamp and Mahan, and a Zyburt kill in transition give Nazareth a 29-27 win. Woods had six kills in the first set, while Irizarry Feliciano totaled four blocks.

The second set began as a back-and-forth affair until Padilla Ayala blasted a kill off the Nazareth block that kickstarted a Pride run that gave them an 11-6 cushion. Woods brought the crowd to its feet with a sensational swing at 14-9, and after Nazareth brought it within three on three different occasions, Woods painted the back corner with another swing in transition to make it a 22-17 contest. The Pride offense was sensational in the set, hitting .536 in the set, bolstered by nine kills from Woods, and Perez finished off a 25-21 win with a big swing in system.

Padilla Ayala cranked back-to-back aces to give Springfield a 5-2 lead to start the third and a solo stuff from Jason Mascoe forced the Golden Flyers into a timeout, trailing 12-8. Springfield didn't let up out of the timeout, pouring on six consecutive points to balloon its lead to 18-8. Nazareth began to chip back, getting with 20-16 on a Zyburt kill off the block, but Woods tipped a kill to break the Golden Flyer run. Perez cracked a cross-court kill for set point, and a Nazareth service error allowed the Pride to take a 2-1 set lead with a 25-19 victory. Padilla Ayala was tremendous in the frame, putting away four kills to go along with two aces.

In the fourth, Nazareth earned a quick 5-3 lead on a Mahan and Cord block and it carried that two-point cushion until a Pieper overpass kill knotted things at eight. Springfield would take its first lead of the set at 12-11 on a Nazareth attack error and a thunderous swing in transition from Woods made it a 18-15 contest. After a sideout kill from Nazareth made it a two-point game, Springfield closed out the match on a 7-2 run to advance to the national championship match. In fitting fashion, Woods crushed his 28th kill of the night to seal the win.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners