Honolulu, Hawaii - January 13, 2012 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team continued to battle against some of the top competition in the country as it fell to UCLA in three sets in the second day of the Outrigger Invitational. The Bruins closed out the Pride, 25-20, 25-21, 25-22.
UCLA, which entered the match ranked third in the country in the latest AVCA Division I national poll, improved to 4-1, while Springfield fell to 0-2. The Pride are currently ranked second in the country in the Division III national rankings.
Middle Greg Falcone continued his solid play out of the middle, producing seven kills on 11 errorless swings to go along with two service aces, while libero Nick Ferry posted a match-high seven digs. Angel Perez chipped in six kills and Jimmy O'Leary totaled five kills and three blocks for the Pride. As a team, Springfield hit. 200.
The Bruins hit .395 for the contest and were paced by Thomas Amberg's 13 kills, at a .688 clip, and four blocks. Kyle Caldwell directed the offense with 34 assists, and Weston Dunlap tallied nine kills. Nick Vogel also registered six kills, four blocks, and four digs for UCLA.
The first set featured 10 ties and five lead changes, the last coming after Springfield took an 11-10 advantage on a Bruin service error. UCLA answered with a 4-1 spurt, capped off by a kill from Jeremy Casabeer to take a 14-12 lead it would not relinquish. A Falcone ace brought the Pride within one at 16-15, only to have Amberg answer back with another kill. UCLA pushed its lead to five at set point on another Amberg termination, before the teams traded service errors to end the opening set.
Springfield took early control of the second set and opened up a 15-12 lead after forcing the Bruins into an attack error. UCLA showed plenty of resolve with four unanswered points to regain a 16-15 lead on a put away by Amberg. The Pride was never able to complete its rally, getting it within two at 22-20 on a O'Leary kill, only to have the Bruins close out the set with three of the final four points.
The Pride owned a quick 4-1 lead after O'Leary and Perez combined for a stuff. UCLA responded with a 6-3 burst to gain a 7-6 edge, it's first lead of the set. The Pride held tough and evened things at 10 before the Bruins made a push and gained a 17-14 lead, forcing Springfield into a timeout. Trailing by as much as six (21-15), the Pride stormed back on a 5-1 run, highlighted by another Falcone ace, to make it 22-21 in favor of UCLA. The Bruins sided out on a kill from Kene Izuchukwu, and kills from Vogel and Dunlap sandwiched a service error to compete the sweep.
Springfield will close out its trip to Hawaii on Saturday when it battles Lewis at 9:00 pm.