Springfield, Mass. - January 28, 2011 -Cal Palumbo totaled 11 kills at a .562 to clip and five blocks to lead the Springfield College men's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over visiting Emmanuel College in Blake Arena on Friday evening. The Pride won by the game scores of 25-18, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22.
Tonight's match pitted two of the top 15 teams in the country . The Pride entered the match ranked in this week AVCA Division III Coaches Poll, while the Saints entered as the 11th-ranked team. The victory snaps the Pride's three-game losing skid as it improves to 2-4 on the year. Emmanuel drops to 5-2 on the year.
Other than Palumbo, fellow middle blocker Greg Falcone added eight kills on 10 errorless swings and four blocks. Alberto Bravo chipped with with 10 digs, nine kills, and four blocks, while Mike Becker directed the Springfield offense with 33 assists as the Pride hit .289 for the match.
Springfield was able to overcome a match-high 18 kills from the Saints' Curtis Abram. Nick Updike delivered 41 assists, while Keoni Rabaino notched 12 kills on the night. Abram also finished the evening with eight digs and three service aces.
Springfield controlled the net with 12 team blocks, compared to just three by the visitors. Both teams struggled from the service line, as they combined for 33 errors on the evening. Emmanuel didn't help themselves any as they registered 32 attack errors in the match.
The Pride's offense was clicking in the opening set as it hit .478. The hosts came out of the gate and raced out to a 12-6 lead after John Coen ripped a ball down the line to force an Emmanuel timeout. The visitors would get within five twice but couldn't contain the Springfield left side hitters, as Coen and Mike Pelletier combined for eight of the Pride's 12 kills in the set.
It was the Saints offense that came alive in the second game as they hit .409, totaling 15 kills as a team. In a set that featured nine ties, Emmanuel broke open a 14-all game with a 5-0 run capped off by an Abram kill. Abram was the difference as he registered eight kills in the game to lead his team to a 25-21 win.
Springfield appeared in total control of the third game after Falcone found the back corner on a swing out of the middle to make it 15-8. However, the visitors wouldn't go away as they responded with an 8-4 run, with an Abrams kill forcing head coach Charlie Sullivan to call a timeout. Back-to-back Emmanuel errors gave Springfield a five-point cushion, which it rode to a 25-21 win after Scott McMahan hammered an overpass kill.
The match seemed destined for five games after an Rabaino termination gave the Saints a 20-16 lead. However, a kill by Falcone kick started an incredible 8-0 run as the Pride snagged a 24-20 lead. Bravo had a pair of kills and a tremendous solo block to lead the Pride in the spurt. An Abrams kill made it 24-22, but an attack error on match point by Emmanuel allowed Springfield to win, 25-22.
The Pride resume action on Tuesday evening when it hits the road to take on in-state foe Harvard at 7:00 pm.