Huntington, Pa. - February 27, 2009 - Mark Ribeiro tallied 15 kills, 12 digs, and four aces to lead the top-ranked Springfield College men's volleyball team past rival and second-ranked Juniata in five games on Friday evening in a critical EIVA Tait Conference and Division III men's volleyball matchup.
Springfield won by the game scores of 31-29, 30-32, 30-27, 17-30, 15-9.
The Pride, still ranked the top team in the Division III, improved to 8-6, 2-4 in conference play on the season and gained a crucial win over Juniata. The win over Juniata proved critical in the Pride's quest to return back to the 2009 Molten Invitational National Championships held at Ramapo College this spring.
Cal Palumbo also had a sensational night for the Pride as he hammered out 13 kills at a .632 clip to go along with four blocks. Ryan Fredrickson added 12 kills while AJ Nally posted 11 kills, including the two for the final two points of the match for Springfield. Eric Shoemaker dished out 48 assists and added three blocks in the victory, while Brandon Waas returned to the Springfield lineup with seven digs on defense for the Pride.
Zach Wanner led Juniata (7-4, 4-3 EIVA Tait) with 20 kills on 50 swings for a .240 attack percentage, to go with four total blocks on the night. Senior Dan Powers logged 15 kills on 24 swings, and sophomore Dan Follett chipped in with 13 kills and nine digs.
Senior setter Matt Werle recorded 53 assists during the match, putting him over the 4,000-career assist mark - third-most in Juniata history, and most assists in the rally scoring-era.
Juniata outhit Springfield for the match, .275 to .214, but the Eagles handed 27 points to the Pride on service errors alone.
The Eagles looked like they might make short work of the Pride in the early-going of set one, as Juniata raced out to a 7-2 lead which later widened to 13-7. Juniata still had a substantial lead in the first set at 19-14, following a Ribeiro service error and a Wanner service ace, but Springfield rattled off five straight points to knot the set at 19-19.
Juniata responded with five straight points of its own, including two on back-to-back kills by Wanner and Chris Vrooman, but a Vrooman service error cut short the run at 24-20. That launched a 7-3 run by the Pride, leaving the set deadlocked at 27-27, and six points later Springfield claimed the set following a bad set by Wanner and a Nally kill.
The Eagles had a 19-14 lead in set two, but another Pride comeback forced the set into extra-points before Juniata would claim the win. Springfield was on set-point at 29-28, but a Powers kill tied things up at 29-29. A Nally attack error and Wanner block gave Juniata a one-point lead, but a Palumbo kill moved the score to 30-30. Consecutive kills by Wanner and junior Evan Halteman allowed Juniata to clinch the set.
The third set was sheer attrition, with neither team able to attack with any consistency. Juniata hit just .056 for the set, while Springfield checked in with a .121 attack percentage. A four-point run by the Pride allowed Springfield to take an 18-12 lead, with Juniata eventually cutting the margin to 23-21 with a Follett kill and back-to-back blocks by the Eagles. However Springfield managed to stay ahead of Juniata the rest of the way, eventually ending the set on a Frederickson kill.
Juniata dominated Springfield in set four, jumping out to a 6-1 lead with a pair of kills by Follett. With their lead at 18-11, the Eagles rattled off five straight points of Wanner's serve, including a pair of service aces, to take command of the set. A Powers kill on 29-17 ended the set, forcing the decisive fifth frame.
Springfield took a 6-3 lead in the final set, but Juniata knotted the score at 6-6 with back-to-back kills by Wanner and Craig Harvey, and an attack error by Ribeiro. A pair of side out kills moved the score along to 7-7, but a Halteman attack error led Springfield take an 8-7 lead. The Pride won the next three points, including two on service aces by Ribeiro, before a Wanner kill ended the run and left Springfield with an 11-8 lead. A Halteman service error and Werle setting error stretched Springfield's lead to 13-8, but a side out service error by Springfield cut the lead to 13-9. Consecutive kills by Nally ended the set, giving Springfield the match.
Springfield returns to action on Saturday afternoon when it takes on Princeton in yet another cruical EIVA Tait Conference contest.