Springfield, Mass. - April 25, 2009 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team's season came to a close on Saturday evening as it fell to visiting George Mason, 3-1, in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Tournament Quarterfinals. The Patriots took the match by the game scores of 24-30, 30-24, 30-27, 31-29.
Springfield, which hosted a quarterfinal match of the EIVA Division I Tournament for the first time in program history, finished its season with a 14-10 record. The Patriots advance to take on Penn State in the semifinals on Thursday and are now 13-15 this season.
AJ Nally paced the Pride with 23 kills and 14 digs, while teammate Ryan Fredrickson added 13 kills and nine digs. Mark Ribeiro added 12 kills, 12 digs, and a pair of aces and Cal Palumbo chipped in with 10 kills as the fourth player of the Pride with double-digit kills. Eric Shoemaker delivered 56 assists and 11 digs in the loss, while Brandon Waas totaled 13 digs.
For George Mason, only two players notched double digit kills as Ben Nichols totaled 20 and Kyle Gramit registered 14. Eric Lucas posted a match-high 18 digs, but it was the Mason block that was the difference in the match. Brandon McLaughlin finished with 11 blocks himself as the Patriots finished with 15.5 team blocks off four solo stuffs and 23 block assists. Brandon Joyner came off the bench to hand out 41 assists in the win.
In the opening game, Springfield was outstanding as it hit .417 and played tremendous defense. With the score tied at 17 all, Springfield rattled off a 7-1 run as it opened up a 24-18 lead. A balanced offensive attack powered SC to the opening game win as Fredrickson pounded out five kills in the game.
It was a much different story in the second game as the Pride committed 11 attack errors en route to a .087 hitting percentage. A Palumbo kill knotted the game at 22, but the Patriots scored eight of the game's final 10 points en route to the 30-24 win. Four Springfield attack errors proved most costly in the run as the match was evened at a game apiece.
The third game was filled with plenty of emotion, no more evident that after a thunderous kill to make it 14-12 in favor of SC, Ribeiro was issued a yellow card for taunting. With Mason awarded a point, the momentum swung in favor of the visitors. The game was back-and-forth as it was tied at 27 after a Patriot attack error. However, Springfield couldn't capitalized as a service error, blocking error, and attacking error handed the Patriots the game.
The Patriots were in control of much of the fourth game and held a 29-26 lead after a Luke Maloney kill. However, Springfield gave it its all, battling back to tie the game at 29 after an Andy Sipe solo stuff. However, GMU used a Nichols kill and a Pride attack error ended the match as Mason won in four games. McLaughlin was huge in the frame as he totaled six blocks, including a pair of solo blocks.