Springfield had never hosted an EIVA Division I Tournament Quarterfinal before last season, when it hosted George Mason.
The Pride enter the tournament as the fourth seed with a 19-10 record, fresh off winning the 2010 Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball National Championship on Saturday evening. St. Francis earned the fifth seed and stands at 12-14 on the year. Both teams finished the regular season with identical 4-6 conference records, as did George Mason, but due to tiebreakers, George Mason earned the three seed, with Springfield and St. Francis taking the fourth and fifth-seeds, respectively.
The first time these two teams played on March 28 in Loretto, Pa., the Pride won by the game scores of 16-30, 30-28, 30-28, 30-28. Division III National Player of the Year AJ Nally had a tremendous game for Springfield as he tallied a match-high 24 kills at a .450 clip to go along with seven digs. Alberto Bravo came off the bench and provided a huge spark with 15 kills, while Mike Pelletier stuffed the stat sheet with 11 kills, 10 digs, and four blocks. Eric Shoemaker registered 52 assists as he led the Springfield offense.
When the Red Flash returned to Springfield on March 28, St. Francis picked up a three-game sweep by virtue of a 30-27, 30-28, 30-21 win. It marked the first time Springfield had been swept since February 26 when it dropped three sets in a row to UC Santa Barbara and was only the third time this entire season that the Pride have failed to win a game in a match. Three members of the Pride notched double figures in the kill column as both Bravo and Nally registered 12 kills. Cal Palumbo finished with 10 kills, hitting .412, and added three blocks, while Shoemaker handed out 45 assists in three games and led the Pride with four blocks. Alex Harrison had a solid game on defense, posting 12 digs, while Nally added seven digs of his own.
The winner of Saturday's match will advance to play the conferecne's regular season-champion, Penn State, next Thursday in State College, Pa.