Springfield, Mass. - April 28, 2010 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team will head down to Penn State as it squares off against the Nittany Lions in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Championship Tournament Semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Pride and top-seeded Nittany Lions will play on Thursday evening at 8:00 pm. Video streaming is available for $2.99 and can be found by clicking here. There will also be live stats available for the match, which can be located here.
The Pride is coming off a 3-1 win over St. Francis in the quarterfinals of the EIVA Tournament last Saturday afternoon as it was victorious by the game scores of 31-29, 27-30, 30-22, 30-25. Since Springfield turned Division III in 1995-96, this marks the first time in program history that the Pride has advanced to the EIVA Tournament semifinals.
Springfield enters the match as the top ranked team in Division III after winning the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball National Championship and stands at 20-10 on the season. The Pride is led by the AVCA Division III National Player of the Year, AJ Nally, who has totaled 454 kills and 300 digs this season. Classmate and fellow All-American Eric Shoemaker is averaging just over 13 assists per game and has racked up 195 digs and 104 blocks this season. Three-time All-American Cal Palumbo has been a force in the middle for Springfield all season as he ranks second on the time with 289 kills at an impressive .440 clip. He has also tacked on 139 blocks, averaging .126 per set. First-year Greg Falcone leads the entire nation in blocking as he is averaging 1.69 blocks per game after totaling 186 blocks as a freshman.
The Nittany Lions head into Thursday's EIVA Semifinal match with a 21-7 overall record. Penn State was last in action on April 17 when the Lions earned a 3-1 win at George Mason to close out the regular season. Senior Will Price led the team with 7.25 kills per set, while redshirt sophomore Edgardo Goas averaged 13.25 assists per set and 2.00 blocks per set. Junior libero Dennis Del Valle had a team-best 3.50 digs per set. As a team, Penn State leads the nation with 16.30 kills per set and ranks fifth with a .323 hitting percentage.
The Nittany Lions are a perfect 30-0 against Springfield, in a series dating back to 1977. Penn State and Springfield met twice in 2010. The Nittany Lions defeated the Pride on Jan. 23, 3-0, in Massachusetts before hosting the squad on Feb. 6 at Rec Hall and winning, 3-1. Springfield became the first EIVA team to win a set against Penn State since March 8, 2008 when Princeton took a game against the Nittany Lions.
The winner of the EIVA Championship earns an automatic berth into the NCAA National Collegiate Semifinals, slated for Thursday, May 6 in Stanford, Calif. The NCAA National Collegiate Championship match is scheduled for Saturday, May 8, also in Stanford, Calif.