Springfield, Mass. - January 29, 2009 - Behind a 10-kill, nine-block performance from sophomore Cal Palumbo, the Springfield College men's volleyball team outlasted local-rival Elms College, 3-0, on Thursday evening. Springfield won by the game scores of 33-31, 39-37, 30-18.
The Pride, currently the top-ranked team in the country, improved to 4-0 on the season while the Blazers dropped to 2-5.
SC appeared in control of the opening set as it owned a 19-11 lead after a Blazer attack error. However, as would be the case the entire match, the scrappy, resilient Elms squad would not go away. The Blazers got right back in the game as they cut the lead to one, 20-19, after three-straight Pride attack errors . After knotting the game at 25 all, SC grabbed a three-point lead at 28-25 after another Elms error, only to have the visitors come back and force extra points. After another Blazer error made it 32-31, Eric Shoemaker and Palumbo teamed up for a double block to give the home Pride the first-game victory. SC totaled 11 block assists in the first game alone and held the visitors to a .064 hitting percentage.
Springfield was once again in control of the second frame as it opened up a 20-11 lead. Elms stormed back, using an 11-3 run to come within one, 23-22, capped off by a Pride attack error. With the second set also needing extra points to decide a winner, Springfield staved off four match points for Elms to eventually take the marathon set, 39-37. Once again the Pride block came up when it counted as a triple block from Andy Sipe, AJ Nally, and Ryan Fredrickson shut the door on the set. Neither team hit the ball efficiently in the frame as Elms hit just .034, while the Pride hit .107.
In the final set, the Pride raced out to a 7-2 lead, fueled by a pair of aces from Pete Manguiat, forcing an Elms timeout. The home squad's lead ballooned to seven at 20-13 after a Nally kill, forcing yet another Elms timeout. Springfield finished off the game on a 10-5 run, capped off by a Shoemaker ace en route to the three-game sweep.
Palumbo was a standout with 10 kills, hitting .316 to go along with seven block assists and two solo stuffs. Fredrickson finished with a team-best 13 kills to go along with six blocks of his own, while Nally tacked on 10 kills and nine digs. Bob Waters was solid on the defensive end with a team-best 12 digs. Shoemaker continued his strong play with 44 assists, seven digs, and seven blocks. Sipe also posted eight blocks as the Pride finished with 20 team blocks.
For the Blazers, Alberto Bravo tallied a match-high 14 kills, while Sequiel Sanchez Velez added 13 kills and 14 digs. Ivan Andujar posted 34 assists, four blocks, and eight digs, while Carlos DeLeon-Gomez tacked on 10 kills and 11 digs. Vincent Cruz added a team-best eight blocks.
Springfield hits the road this weekend for a two-match road swing in Pennsylvania. First up for the Pride will be the defending Division I National Champion Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday evening at 7:00 pm.