Springfield, Mass. - February 9, 2010 - First-year Alistair Matthews tallied 11 kills on 16-errorless swings to lead the Springfield College men's volleyball team to a three-game victory over visiting NJIT on Tuesday night in a non-conference tilt. The Pride took the match by the set scores of 30-17, 30-20, 30-15.
The Pride entered tonight's match as the second-ranked team in the country in the this week's AVCA Division III Men’s Top 15 Coaches Poll and improve to 4-4 on the season. NJIT is still searching for its first win of the 2010 campaign as it drops to 0-7.
In the first major action of his collegiate career, Matthews entered the game late in the first set and played an errorless game as he totaled 11 kills, hitting .686, to go along with three aces and three blocks. Springfield controlled the middle throughout as Cal Palumbo and Greg Falcone each finished without any attack errors. Palumbo pounded out nine kills, hitting 1.000, while Greg Falcone notched six kills at a .857 clip, to go along with a match-high eight blocks. As a team, Springfield hit .486 with Eric Shoemaker handing out 26 assists in two games and Brad Seislove delivering 13 assists, three blocks, and two aces in the third set.
The Highlanders managed to hit just .010 for the match as Springfield totaled 13.5 team blocks. NJIT didn't help themselves out as it committed 31 attack errors in the match. Christian Puszies finished with a match-high 13 kills and Kevin Van Oss totaled five kills. Brady Smith registered a match-best nine digs and Matthew Lui came off the bench to deliver 19 assists.
Springfield opened up a quick 9-4 lead as Shoemaker posted a solo stuff and a service ace to force an NJIT timeout. Out of the break, the Pride rattled off three points, including kills from Falcone and Alberto Bravo to own a 12-4 advantage. After a sideout, the Pride continued to pour on the pressure as four-straight NJIT attack errors ballooned Springfield's lead to 13, 19-6. NJIT would only get as close as 10 the rest of the set as it hit -.172 compared to Springfield's .429 clip. Palumbo led the way for the hosts with four kills in the opening game.
NJIT opened up the second stanza with four consecutive errors to hand the Pride a 4-0 lead. However, Puszies kept the visitors in the second game as he totaled eight kills and limited Springfield from snagging a big lead early. After a Puszies kill made it 20-16 in favor of Springfield, the hosts rattled off a 5-1 run capped off by a Palumbo kill. The Pride coasted to the set win as Matthews finished with six kills in the game, while Palumbo added four of his own.
The Highlanders hung tough to start the final set as a Doug Battersby kill brought the visitors within one, 5-4. Using its block, the Pride eventually took control of the game as it blew open the frame with a 13-5 run highlighted by double block from Palumbo and Seislove. Mike Freytag gave Springfield its largest lead of 16 at 28-12 on his first collegiate kill and a NJIT service error completed the three-game sweep.
The Pride will look to pick up its first conference win of the season on Friday evening when it hosts Princeton at 7:00 pm.