HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Junior Tim Ferriter notched 14 kills en route to being named Most Valuable Player in the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Tournament to lead the Stevens to a 3-0 sweep of three-time defending national champion Springfield.The championship is the first team championship in Stevens Athletics history, and they finished 31-4 on the season. More impressively is that the team had only one loss within ranks of DIII, and recorded the second-most wins in a season in program history.
Sunday marked the first time in five tries that the Ducks have beaten Springfield, and it could not have come at a better time.
The teams traded the first 14 points, before Springfield recorded the next two points with kills from Ricardo Padilla Ayala and Joseth Irizarry. After a service error gave the ball back to the Ducks, the Pride went on a 4-0 run to give the visitors their biggest lead of the opening set.
Stevens took control of the set after knotting the match at 17 and used an attack error from Angel Perez to grab their first lead since 7-6.
After Springfield tied the period at 18, the Ducks scored the next three points, with Ferriter and senior Ryan Seifert notching kills and senior David Evans serving up an ace. After a solo block by Irizarry pulled the Pride with two, Seifert tallied a kill and a double block by junior Etan Bennett and Ferriter brought the lead to 23-19.
A service error helped Springfield fend off one match point, but an Evans kill ended set one 25-20 for the home team. The Ducks held their opponents to a .143 hitting percentage with eight errors and the unit recorded four total blocks.
Set two saw the Pride notch four of the first five points, but a 4-0 counter by Stevens quickly erased that deficit as Seifert and Bennett teamed for a double-block and an ace from senior Daniel Smith gave the Ducks the lead for good.
The second stanza saw the score get tied at 7,8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18 before the Ducks were able to fully grab the advantage with a huge double-stuff block by junior John Eddins and Smith.
A kill by Woods brought the deficit down to one, but a 4-1 set clinching rally was started by a kill from Seifert and was concluded with a serving error. Stevens once again dominated at the net, out slugging the Pride .379-.139 forcing the visitors into 10 attack errors.
The Ducks started set third period off with five of the first seven points, with Ferriter, Evans and Seifert each notching kills. An additional kill by Evans put Stevens up 8-4, forcing Springfield into taking their first timeout of the set.
A kill by Sean Zuvich gave Springfield the serve back, but Eddins set a perfectly placed ball to Bennett who smashed home a kill which was followed up a thunderous double-block by Smith and Eddins. The Pride had to burn their final timeout after an Evans service ace gave the Ducks a 13-8 lead.
Springfield did not go down quietly, as an ace by Tucker Evans brought the visitors within three points. A set turning 5-1 run by Stevens, with Seifert scoring an ace and a pair of Pride attack errors handed the hosts a 21-14 edge.
The visitors rallied back with a 3-0 run, finished with a block from Greg Woods and Jason Mascoe.
The Pride got within three after successful kills from Irizarry and Perez, but a kill by Seifert brought up match point. A Smith serving error gave the Pride the serve back, but after a perfect pass, senior Kevin Aeckerle dished out the biggest assist of his career and Ferriter crushed a ball was sent out of bounds, sending the crowd into a tizzy.
Stevens held their opponents to a .167 hitting percentage, while they hit .365 and committed only nine attack errors. Ferriter also chipped in six digs, while Seifert ended his fine career with 12 kills.
Bennett only had one kill, but made his presence felt with six assisted blocks. Aeckerle handed out 22 helpers, while junior Chris Vaughan had eight digs from his libero position.
Perez led the Pride with 13 kills, with senior Keaton Pieper dishing out 30 assists. Ryan Malone contributed 12 digs as the libero while Padilla ended with nine kills.