Springfield College Pride well-represented on U.S. Pan Am Volleyball Cup team
SPRINGFIELD – When the United States competes in the Men’s Pan American Volleyball Cup next week, Springfield College will have three alums represented on the team. Charlie Sullivan will serve as the head coach for the team, while AJ Nally ’10 will play at outside hitter, and Sam Zapatka ’13 will be the team manager.
The Cup will be played from Aug. 9 to 17 at the Baja California High Performance Center in Tijuana, Mexico, and nine teams are expected to compete, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the United States and hosts Mexico.
Sullivan has had multiple stints working with the US Men’s National Team, but this marks his first time as the head coach during a competition.
“After a great stretch of training out here in Anaheim, I’m really excited for the competition to start,” Sullivan said. “It’s always a great opportunity to be involved with USA Volleyball, and this year is extra special with several Springfield College alums here with me”.
Entering his 17th season at the helm of the Springfield College men’s program this season, Sullivan '91 G'97 has led the Pride to three-straight NCAA Division III National Championships, with the 2014 title marking the ninth overall national championship in program history.
Since graduating in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management, Nally has traveled the globe as a professional volleyball player.
The 2010 AVCA Division III National Player of the Year has played professionally in Holland, Germany, and France and earned a spot on the U.S. National Team after being invited to try out earlier this summer.
Zaptaka, who recently graduated from Springfield College in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management, will join Sullivan on the trip as the team’s manager and will be charged with keeping statistics along with other duties. Zaptaka spent three seasons with Sullivan as a student assistant with the Pride.
Last year's Pan American Cup took place at the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium in Mexico City. Winners Brazil defeated silver medalists Mexico in the final.