Springfield, Mass. - March 5, 2010 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team knocked off rival and top-ranked Juniata College in four games in a EIVA Tait Conference match on Friday evening. The Pride bested the Eagles by the set scores of 19-30, 30-26, 30-20, 30-25.
The win boosts Springfield's record to 11-6, 3-3 in league play, while the Eagles drop to 5-7, 1-3 in conference action.
Cal Palumbo simply dominated the match out of the middle as he pounded out a career-best 20 kills, hitting .630, to go along with four blocks. AJ Nally was tremendous for Springfield as the senior outside tallied 17 kills at a .412 clip and tacked on 12 digs and four blocks. Mike Pelletier registered a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs, and Alistair Matthews recorded 10 kills. Greg Falcone had a very impressive match out of the middle as well as he tallied nine kills on 11-errorless swings to go along with a team-best five blocks. Alex Harrison tied his career-high in digs with 14 digs, while Eric Shoemaker led the Springfield offense to a .397 hitting percentage as he dished out 59 assists and added 11 digs.
Zach Wanner led Juniata with a match-high 25 kills, hitting .340 in the contest. Chris Vrooman was the only other member of the Eagles to tally double-digit kills as he totaled 17 kills at a .410 clip. Anthony Damiano posted a team-best 10 digs, while Mike Kraft delivered 52 assists in the loss. Ben Wolf added four kills and match-best five service aces for the visitors.
The Eagles came out on fire in the opening set as they hit .469 as a team in the frame. After the score was tied at seven, Juniata opened up a 5-1 run, capped off by a Kraft kill to take a 12-8 lead. A Matthews kill got Springfield within two at 14-12, but Juniata continued its pressure, as it ran off an 8-1 spurt en route to a commanding 22-13 lead. Wolff tallied a pair of aces in the run for the Eagles as the visitors quieted the raucous crowd of just over 600. A Springfield attack error closed out the opening game as the Eagles won by a 30-19 count.
Juniata grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the second game as Wolff once again ripped a pair of aces to start the set. However, a resilient Springfield squad, which hit .441 in the stanza, battled back to tie the game at 11 after a Nally kill. Springfield then scored the game's next three points, as a Palumbo solo block and Pelletier kill sandwiched a Juniata attack error ,to give SC a 14-11 lead. Springfield's lead grew to five on nine occasions the rest of the game and Nally brought the crowd to its feet with a solo block to end the second game and tie the match up at a game apiece.
SC carried the momentum into the third as it was unstoppable, hammering out 15 kills on its first 20 swings. The Pride set the tone at the beginning of the set as after leading 2-1, Springfield recorded three-straight double blocks, with Palumbo having a hand in each of them, as the hosts took a 5-1 lead. Palumbo produced kills on all six of his swings in the set and pounded home back-to-back kills to provide Springfield a 10-point cushion at 22-12, forcing a Juniata timeout. The lead grew to as much as 12 and a Juniata service error handed Springfield a 2-1 set advantage.
In the fourth, Pelletier notched a kill to give the hosts a 6-5 lead, an advantage which would not be relinquished for the rest of the match. The Pride continued to play well as it turned its one-point lead to a five-point cushion at 18-13, forcing yet another Eagle timeout. Juniata got as close as four on 10 occasions but could get no closer as Falcone slammed home a kill as the Pride completed its upset victory.
Springfield will resume action on Tuesday evening when it travels to take on Harvard at 7:00 pm.