Now in its 23rd year of existence, the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic hosted by Springfield College has become the biggest event for volleyball on the East Coast, and the Pride is the only Division III squad in the country currently hosting a Division I volleyball tournament. Tickets for each night's doubleheader are $6 for adults, and $4 for students and youths. For more information on tickets, please call the Volleyball Hall of Fame at (413) 536-0926.
In the opening night of action (Feb. 26), Ohio State will square off against George Mason at 6:00 p.m. before the host Pride will then take on UC Santa Barbara at 8:00 p.m. On Saturday night, February 27th, game times will again be at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., with the consolation match first and the championship match scheduled second to cap off the weekend's festivities.
Ohio State is currently ranked 13th in this week’s AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll and stands at 9-5 on the season. The Buckeyes have won eight of their last nine matches and have been paced by Shawn Sangrey and John Klanac, who have combined for 302 kills through 13 matches. Ohio State last played in the Classic in 2006, when it finished third.
The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos will be the highest ranked Division I team in this year’s Classic as they entered the week ranked eighth in the coach’s poll. Making their first-ever trip to the Classic, the Gauchos have a 6-8 record in arguably the toughest conference in the country, the Mountain Pacific. Jeff Menzel has had a terrific start to the year as he is averaging 5.52 kills per set and has totaled 342 kills through 14 matches.
For George Mason, Andrew Dentler leads the way for the Patriots with 122 kills through nine matches, averaging 5.08 kills a set. George Mason is 3-6 on the season, however, has lost its last four times out. For the past two seasons, George Mason as lost in the Classic’s Championship match.
The third-ranked team in Division III, Springfield is currently 8-4 on the year and has won its last five matches. Serving as hosts of the Classic for the past 20 years, the Pride’s AJ Nally lead the team in kill (143) and digs (112), while Greg Falcone leads the nation in blocking with 2.05 blocks per game.
Besides four exciting top-level volleyball matches, this weekend also offers two different clinics; one for players and one for coaches. UCSB’s Rick McLaughlin, George Mason’s Fred Chao, and Ohio State’s Pete Hanson, and Springfield Head Coach Charlie Sullivan will be in charge of directing the players clinic, while Sean MacDonald from Frontier Regional High School will run the coaches clinic. Both clinics start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. with a break for lunch. The cost of each clinic is $60 with a ticket included for Saturday night's consolation and championship action. To sign up for the clinics or to receive more information, please call the Volleyball Hall of Fame at (413) 536-0926 or visit their website at www.volleyhall.org.