Springfield, Mass. - March 27, 2011 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team dropped a five-set thriller to rival New York University on Sunday afternoon in Blake Arena. The Violets prevailed 27-25, 19-25, 26-24, 24-26, 16-14.
NYU was tied for fourth in this week's AVCA national rankings and improves to 16-7 on the year, while the top-ranked Pride drop to 12-12. All told, the match was tied on 43 occasions.
Alberto Bravo registered 24 kills and nine digs to pace the Pride, while Mike Pelletier added 13 kills and nine digs of his own. Mike Becker dished out 53 assists and recorded four blocks and Cal Palumbo chipped in eight kills and a match-high seven blocks. Nick Ferry was responsible for a team-best 11 digs in the loss.
Taylor Fauntleroy had a standout match for the Violets as he produced a match-high 27 kills and 14 digs. Nick Capriccio added 14 kills at a .545 vlicp out of the middle, while Patrick Dodd notched 10 kills for the visitors. Connor Mortland handed out 53 assists and picked up 11 digs in the win as he led NYU to a .306 hitting percentage.
In the opening set, a block from Becker and Palumbo gave the hosts a 17-15 advantage and forced NYU into their first timeout of the match. The Violets battled back to take their first lead since 14-13 after a Dodd kill gave the visitors set point at 26-25. On the next point, Springfield's ninth attack error of the frame gave NYU a 27-25 win.
Springfield's found its offensive rhythm in the second set as it hit .500 as a team en route to winning the only set of the match that was decided by more than two points. The Pride led by as many as five in the early going, only to have Capriccio connect out of the middle to make it a 19-17 ball game. Greg Falcone stopped the run with a kill and the Pride used big blocks from Falcone and Jeff Gutmann and Palumbo and Becker to even the match at one.
The Violets answered back in the third as they hit .429, bolstered by six kills from Fauntleroy. NYU opened up a 19-16 lead after a Sprinfield attack error, but the Pride answered with a gritty 7-3 run to snag a 23-22 advantage. However, the Violets went to their swing hitters with the score at 24-all as kills from Dodd and Fauntleroy made it 26-24.
After a triple block by Becker, Palumbo and Tommy Crow gave Springfield a 21-13 lead, the Pride appeared in cruise control to force a fifth set. NYU had different plans as the visitors poured on an incredible 10-2 run capped off by Fauntleroy's eight kill of the set to even the game at 23. After the teams traded points, Falcone hammered a ball for a kill to make it 25-24, and NYU's swing after a long rally sailed long to force a fifth set.
In the fifth, Becker and Falcone teammed up for a block as the hosts owned a 12-10 lead. Fauntleroy and Luke Hamlet each converted on back-to-back kills, before Dodd and Francis Hodgson combined for a block as NYU opened a 13-12 lead and force the Pride into their final timeout of the afternoon. Bravo would connect for his last kill to make it 14-all, before Capriccio crushed a ball to give NYU match point. On the ensuing serve, Hamlet's serve clipped the back line to complete the upset victory.
Springfield continues its six-match homestand on Friday evening when it hosts rival Juniata at 7:00 pm