Springfield dominates New Paltz to claim 2018 Morgan Classic championship

Outside attacker Sergio Figueroa Velez raised his level of play in the championship match at one of college men’s volleyball’s most historic non-conference tournaments.

Velez had both a match-high 12 kills on a .733 attack percentage and five blocks as No. 1 Springfield swept No. 14 SUNY New Paltz 25-19, 25-10, 25-22 in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic Finals on Saturday in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Along with his season-high attack percentage, Velez led all players with a season-high four aces. The sophomore also was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for helping the Pride (11-1) win their home tournament for the fourth time in the 30-year history of the event.

Springfield out-hit SUNY New Paltz .366 to .059, including holding New Paltz to a negative attack percentage in the first two games.

Setter Mike Neary guided the Pride offense to commit a combined three attack errors in the final two games. SUNY New Paltz (4-3) in contrast had double-digit errors in each of the first two game and six errors in the final game.

Eli Irizarry Pares, the 2017 Off the Block Division III National Libero of the Year, finished with a match-high 15 digs against SUNY New Paltz. In addition, Velez contributed 10 digs.

Outside attacker Aaron Carrk in the loss led SUNY New Paltz with six kills but hit a negative-.136.

With this victory, Springfield extends its winning streak to 11 matches and remains undefeated this season against Division III opponents.

Springfield advanced to the championship match after defeating Stevenson in the semifinals on Friday, while SUNY New Paltz upset Harvard in its semifinal match. Stevenson upset Harvard in four games on Saturday in the consolation match to finish the Morgan Classic in third place.