In their sole meeting during the regular season, Hunter and Springfield‘s March faceoff lasted three sets, with the Pride taking the contest 3-0. The largest difference between the two teams was the hit percentage, with Springfield striking .692 on the evening, and the Hawks a subzero -.015. For the season, Hunter is hitting .276, while the Pride’s mark stands at .419.
Springfield comes into the quarterfinals studded with five ECAC All-Region Athletes in Luis Vega, Luis Garcia Rubio, Kyle Jasuta, Ricardo Padilla Ayala, and Eli Irrizary Pares. Vega was named ECAC Division III North Men’s Volleyball Co-Offensive Player of the Year, while Garcia Rubio, Jasuta, Padilla Ayala, and Irrizary Pares were all named ECAC North All-Stars.
Padilla Ayala will be a key player to watch for the Pride in the team’s opening contest against Hunter, as the junior was a standout in the regular season meeting with 12 kills on a .688 hit percentage.
For the Hawks, their offense will have to bring its A game, so a player to watch for Hunter will be senior setter Nicholas Sanchez. Sanchez is No. 8 in the nation in assists per set with a mark of 10.26. Hunter will also need a big game out of middle blocker Steven Tarquinio to help lead the defensive charge against Springfield’s potent offense. The senior was named the 2017 CUNYAC Tournament MVP, leading the Hawks to their second straight CUNYAC championship with 0.95 blocks per set.
When comparing the two teams head-to-head, it will be difficult for Hunter to find a rhythm if the match plays out anything similar to the game in March. Springfield is coming off of a bye, and after dropping a late season game to MIT, 3-2, it can be anticipated that the Pride will want to set a tone similar to what they played with during the February stretch of the season (10-0 overall, 30-0 in sets), after being humbled so close to tournament play.
Prediction: Springfield wins 3-0