Springfield, Mass. - February 7, 2009 - In front of 1,300 fans dressed in white, the Springfield College men's volleyball team fell to the defending Division I National Champion Penn State Nittany Lions in three games on Saturday night. Penn State won in straight sets, 30-21, 30-20, 30-20.
With the win, Penn State improves to 8-0, 4-0 in EIVA play while the Pride evens its record at 4-4, 0-3 in league play.
In the battle of the two reigning national champions from both Division I and Division III, the top-ranked clubs opened up a back-and-forth opening frame until Springfield was able to grab a one-point lead at 15-14 after a kill from setter Eric Shoemaker. Penn State answered with a 5-1 run, capped off by a Ryan Sweitzer service ace, forcing a Springfield timeout. A solid performance from the visitors down the stretch was too much for the hosts, as a double block from Joe Sunder and Max Holt shut the door on the first game, 30-21 in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State was unstoppable in the second set as it hit .571 as a team, committing just one error on 21 swings. After a Mark Ribeiro kill brought Springfield within three, 11-8, the Nittany Lions rattled off 10 of the game's next 14 points to take a commanding 21-12 lead. Holt had a pair of kills and a block in the run to pace the visitors. Ryan Sweitzer connected for five kills on eight swings in the second set as Penn State captured the game, 30-20.
In the third and final game, three consecutive Penn State attack errors tied the game at five all. A Will Price kill on the ensuing point gave Penn State the lead for good as it cruised to a 30-20 victory. The Nittany Lions were once again tremendous as they hit .500 as a team, hammering out 18 kills and recorded six team blocks. Penn State served the home Pride tough all match, but especially tough in the third, tallying five aces.
Leading the way in the match for Penn State was Holt, who was outstanding, registering a kill on all 10 of his swings for a 1.000 hitting percentage to go along with eight blocks. Sweitzer added a match-high 14 kills, hitting .545, while Price added 10 kills. Dennis Del Valle posted seven digs to pace the Nittany Lions defensive attack. Price had a team-best three aces in the win.
AJ Nally finished with a team-best 11 kills for the Pride in the loss to go along with four blocks. Ribeiro added seven kills and three blocks, while Bob Waters posted six digs. Shoemaker dished out 27 assists on the night as well for SC.
Springfield returns to action on Tuesday night when it travels to take on New Jersey Institute of Technology.