Springfield, Mass. - January 23, 2010 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team opened up EIVA Tait Conference play in impressive fashion as it dropped a hard-fought three set match to rival Penn State in front of 1,500-plus at Blake Arena on Saturday evening. The Nittany Lions won the match by the game scores of 33-31, 30-22, 30-26.
The win boosts Penn State, which is ranked sixth in this week's AVCA Division I/II National Poll, to 4-1, 2-0 in league play. The Pride, currently ranked third in the country in the latest AVCA Division III rankings, drops to 1-3, 0-1.
For Penn State, Will Price finished with a match-high 22 kills, hitting .364, while Max Lipsitz added nine kills and six blocks. Edgardo Goas dished out 38 assists and Dennis Del Valle totaled a match-best 18 digs. As a team, the Nittany Lions hit .235 and posted eight team blocks to go along with six service aces.
Springfield's AJ Nally posted team-highs in kills with nine, and digs with 10, and was one of three members of the Pride with four blocks. Cal Palumbo continued his impressive play with eight kills, hitting .412, to go along with four blocks, while Eric Shoemaker handed out 39 assists to go along with four blocks. Greg Falcone stuffed a team-best five blocks in the loss. The Pride managed to hit just .145 but blocked particularly well, finishing with 11 team blocks on the night.
Penn State never surrendered its early lead in the opening stanza, despite a spirited effort by the Pride. A kill from Alex Harrison knotted the game at 16-all as the Springfield faithful really started to come to life. However, the Pride found itself down 26-21 after an SC attack error, forcing Head Coach Charlie Sullivan to call a timeout. Out of the break, the Pride responded with an 8-3 run, capped off by a double block by Palumbo and Nally to tie the game at 29-all. After not converting on three-match points, Penn State finally captured the opening frame after a Joe Sunder ace.
The Nittany Lions carried the momentum into the second game as it raced out to a 17-8 lead after a Tom Comfort kill. Springfield would get as close as seven on a handful of occasions but couldn't overcome its -.030 hitting percentage, as it dropped the set, 30-22.
Springfield was a different team in the third game as it hammered home eight kills on its first 14 swings to snag an early 13-10 lead, forcing Penn State to call a timeout. The Nittany Lions responded with their own big run, using an 11-6 spurt after another Price kill, to force the Pride into a timeout with the score 21-19 in favor of the visitors. Springfield continued to claw away, getting to within two after Falcone and Alberto Bravo combined for a block to make it 27-25. Nick Turko eventually tallied his lone kill of the match to hand Penn State the victory.
Springfield will return to the court on Tuesday evening when it travels Connecticut to take on Sacred Heart at 7:00 pm.