New York, N.Y. - February 21, 2009 - Behind 19 kills from Mark Ribeiro, the top-ranked Springfield College men's volleyball team rallied to a four-game win at rival New York University on Saturday afternoon. After dropping the first set, 30-24, the Pride took the next three games, 30-24, 30-26, 30-26, to win the match.
After taking the first set in impressive fashion, the Violets (3-11), currently ranked #10 in the Bison/AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll, dropped the next three to the top-ranked Pride (7-6) to lose the match.
The first set saw six tied scores before the Violets managed to build a 17-13 lead, forcing the Pride to use their first timeout. Coming out of the stoppage, Springfield managed to chisel away at the lead, eventually coming within one at 20-19. However, a service error on the next play gave the Violets a two-point cushion which was all they would need, as they cruised to the 30-25 win.
In the second set, the Pride's game started to turn around. After jumping out to an 8-3 lead and forcing Springfield to use a timeout, the Violets stumbled and a five-point lead became a two-point deficit in the course of seven plays. That would be all the momentum that the Pride would need as Springfield would not trail for the rest of the set. SC went on to lead by as much as seven at 26-19 before eventually taking the set 30-24.
In the third set, the Violets attempted to jump on top of the Pride early, taking a quick 5-2 lead. However, Springfield kept its composure, tying up the score at five. The two teams went on to trade points until a quick three-point run on the part of the Pride gave them a 18-15 advantage. Seven plays later, the Violets tied up the score again, using their own 5-2 run to pull even.
Springfield would manage to gain two-point leads at 22-20 and 24-22, however, each time NYU would rally to tie the score. The third time the Pride took a two-point advantage they managed to break away, building their lead to four at 29-25 before taking the set 30-26.
Registering kills on 13 of its first 16 swings, the Pride's offense was simply unstoppable as it stormed out of the gate in the fourth game. After a 6-6 tie, Springfield took nine of the next 13 points to take a five-point lead into an NYU timeout. The Pride continued to roll coming out of the stoppage, putting together their biggest lead of the night at 24-16. The Violets attempted a rally, pulling within three on two occasions at 28-25 and 29-26. However, it was too little, too late, as Springfield took the deciding set 30-26.
Senior captain Devin Zolnowski extended his double-digit kills streak to 11 as he put down a match-high 22 kills along with eight digs and two blocks. Also in double-digits for the Violets were junior Michael Ferragonio with 13 and sophomore Fran Hodgson with 10. Senior Ilan Goldstein recorded his fourth double-double of the season, putting up 52 assists along with a team-high 12 digs.
For the Pride, Ribero notched 19 kills in a return to his hometown and was especially impressive as he received 57 of NYU's 92 serves, getting aced just once. Fellow senior Ryan Fredrickson tallied a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs, while AJ Nally added 15 kills and nine digs, and Eric Shoemaker handed out 50 assists to go along with nine digs and seven blocks. The Pride will have another big match the next time it hits the court as it travels to take on No. 2 Juniata on Friday evening at 7:00 pm.