Springfield, Mass. - March 4, 2011 - Alberto Bravo racked up a match-high 20 kills while hitting .536 to lead the Springfield College men's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Princeton in an important EIVA Tait Conference match on Friday evening in Blake Arena. The Pride took the match by the scores 25-27, 25-16, 25-16, 25-11.
Springfield, the top-ranked team in Division III, improves to 8-10, 2-4 in league play as it has now won five of its last six matches. The Tigers continue their slide as they fall to 1-10, 0-7 in league play after dropping their eighth-consecutive match.
Bravo put on a show for the hometown crowd as he pounded out 20 kills to go along with five blocks and three aces. Greg Falcone added seven kills, at a .545 clip, and five blocks, while fellow middle Cal Palumbo registered a match-high eight blocks. Mike Pelletier chipped in a match-high eight digs and three aces, and Mike Becker finshed the match with 38 assists, four blocks, five digs, and two aces.
As a team, Springfield put up 10 service aces for the second-straight match and posted their most blocks of the season, 13.5 team blocks.
For the Tigers, Michael Dye notched a team-best 11 kills and three aces, while Vincent Tuminelli added 10 kills. Davis Waddell ended the match with a team-best five digs and Scott Liljestrom delivered 22 assists. Princeton hit just .075 for the match.
In the opening set, the teams found themselves knotted at 11 after a Springfield service error. Princeton then poured on a 5-0 run, much in part to four Springfield attack errors, as the visitors opened up a 16-11 lead. The lead ballooned to 10 at 22-12 after another Springfield service error as Princeton appeared to breeze to a first set win. However, Springfield put together a miraculous 11-1 run to even the set at 23 after a huge block by Palumbo and Bravo. Princeton eventually pulled out the set after Dye connected on a kill and Bravo's attempt missed the back line to give Princeton a 27-25 win.
The Pride found its rhythm in the second set as it hit .524, led by Bravo's five kills in the game. A Howard kill made it 9-6 in favor of Springfield, but a double block by Falcone and Pelletier capped off a 6-3 burst by the Pride as it snagged a 15-9 advantage and forced a Princeton timeout. The Pride went on to lead by as many as 10 and took the second set 25-16.
Both squads struggled offensively in the third. With the scored tied at five-all early on, Springfield used a 11-4 spurt to earn a 16-9 lead. Bravo was dominant in the burst with three kills, an ace, and a block with Falcone. Princeton didn't go away as it battled back to get within four at 19-15, but Springfield put the set away in convincing fashion with six of the set's final seven points, including an emphatic ace by Bravo to give the Pride a 2-1 lead.
Springfield's tough serving translated into an early 9-1 lead in the fourth. Springfield didn't let off the gas as it hit .684, totaling 13 kills without an error to complete the four-set victory. Bravo notched six kills on all six of his swings, while Princeton was limited to just a .000 attack percentage.
The Pride will play for the third time this week in Blake Arena when it battles Penn State at 5:00 pm in EIVA Tait Conference action.