Springfield, Mass. - March 7, 2012 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team held off a charging NYU squad in five sets in a key regional matchup on Wednesday evening in Blake Arena. Behind a team-best 18 kills from Alistair Matthews, Springfield won 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 21-25, 15-12.
Tonight’s match featured two of the top teams in the country as both appeared in this week’s AVCA National Coaches Poll. Springfield entered the match ranked second in the nation, while the Violets were ranked sixth.
Matthews had a solid showing from the right side, producing 18 kills at a .500 clip while adding five blocks and five digs. Angel Perez chipped in with 16 kills, hitting .444, while posting seven digs and four blocks, while Greg Falcone notched a match-high nine blocks. Springfield hit .396 with Keaton Pieper lead the offense, as the first-year setter tallied 48 assists and four blocks. Nick Ferry registered a match-best 10 digs.
Taylor Fauntleroy was spectacular for the Violets, notching a match-best 28 kills. Teammate Parker Kolodka added 16 kills at a .5454 clip and Pat Dodd recorded 13 kills of his own. Connor Mortland had 52 assists for the Violets, who hit .273 for the match.
Springfield hit an even .500 in the opening set but could never really shake the Violets. A Perez kill gave the Pride a 15-11 lead, but the visitors responded with a 9-5 push, capped off by a Fauntleroy ace to force the Pride into a timeout at 20-all. The teams traded six points before Matthews gave the hosts set point after crushing a ball cross court. Springfield slammed the door on the set as Matthews and Falcone combined for a huge block.
The Pride’s offense didn’t let up, hitting a scorching .692 in the second set. With the score tied at 15 all, the Pride rattled off four-straight points to force NYU into their first timeout of the match at 19-15. The punctuation on the run came on a block from Falcone and Pieper. The Violets pushed right back with a 5-2 spurt, capped off by an overpass kill from Capriccio as the Pride burned a timeout. Springfield sided out on a big swing from Perez and then used a solo stuff from Jimmy O’Leary to gain a two-point cushion. The Pride would go on to take a two-set lead following a NYU service error.
NYU stormed out to a quick 5-1 lead as Fauntleroy crafted a kill off an overpass. Springfield quickly regrouped and eventually took a 13-12 lead to force an NYU timeout following a Pelletier back-row kill. The Pride’s lead grew to 15-13 on a kill from Falcone, only to have NYU answer with a 7-1 burst, using a Dodd kill to go up 20-16. The Pride grinded out the next three points to get within one at 21-20, but the Violets were too strong down the stretch to take the set 25-21.
It was a back-and-forth start to the fourth game as the set featured 12 ties and five lead changes. After finding themselves down 18-16 after Fauntleroy’s second-straight kill, the Pride used a Pelletier kill and triple block from Perez, Falcone, and Pieper to tie the set at 18. NYU responded with three consecutive points to earn a 21-18 lead which it would not relinquish. Fauntleroy was unstoppable in the set, accounting for 12 kills compared to just nine for the entire Springfield team.
Springfield could not have asked for a better start to the fifth. Matthews connected on a pair of tough kills and was tough from the service line to give the hosts a quick 3-0 lead. After Fauntleroy tallied yet another kill to make it 4-3, the Pride scoring three straight points, highlighted by kills from Perez and O'leary to take a 7-3 lead. The Violets surged back, and got within 11-10 on another Fauntleroy termination. Consecutive kills from Mike Pelletier and Perez handed the Pride a 13-10 lead, which it would eventually turn into a 15-12 lead after a NYU service error to end the match.
Springfield will turn right around and hit the road on Thursday for a regional matchup at Endicott beginning at 7:00 pm.