Springfield, Mass. - February 8, 2012 - Led by Mike Pelletier's match-high 10 kills, the Springfield College men's volleyball team swept visiting MIT on Wednesday evening in a clash of nationally-ranked opponents. The Pride were victorious 25-19, 25-18, 25-15.
The loss drops MIT to 5-3, while Springfield now stands at 6-4, including a 5-0 record versus Division III opponents.
Tonight's match pitted a pair of team ranked in the top five of this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coaches Poll. The Pride remained the second-ranked team in the country for the third-straight week, while the Engineers had moved up to the fifth spot.
Pelletier paced the Pride with 10 kills at a .375 clip, while fellow outside Angel Perez stuffed the stat line with eight kills, hitting .583 to go along with eight digs and five blocks. Middle Greg Falcone recorded six kills on 10 errorless attempts while posting a match-best seven blocks and three service aces. Keaton Pieper directed Springfield's offense to a .391 hitting percentage while dishing out 28 assists.
For the visiting Engineers, Matt Hohenberger recorded eight kills, as did Ken Siebert. David Thomas tallied a team-best five digs, while Patrick Vatterott totaled four kills and three blocks. MIT hit .114 for the contest and Paul Syta delivered 24 assists.
The Engineers jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the first after Alex Klein and Vatterott combined for a double block. The Pride settled down and answered back with a 8-2 run, capped off by a big double block from Jimmy O’Leary and Pieper on a MIT back-row attack. After a Springfield service error brought the visitors within two at 13-11, the Pride reeled off six of the next seven points, including three straight blocks including Falcone and Perez to snag a 19-12 advantage. Hitting .450 for the frame, the Pride cruised the rest of the way and took the first 25-19 following an MIT service error.
Vatterott connected on a kill early in the second to even things at four-all. Falcone sided out with a kill and then Springfield used a block from O'Leary and Perez and another Falcone ace to give it a three-point cushion. Springfield held an 11-7 advantage, but this time MIT used a run of their own, a 4-0 burst, capped off by a Klein kill to give things at 11. Following a long rally on the next point, Pelletier crushed a ball down the line to kick-start a 5-2 run which forced MIT into a timeout at 16-13. The Engineers were unable to get any closer than two in the set and Falcone and John Coen combined for a huge stuff to end the second 25-18.
Springfield trailed 4-3 in the third before Pelletier came through with two key plays. The junior evened things at four with a kill and then notched a big solo stuff, fueling Springfield's 8-1 spurt that gave the hosts an 11-5 lead. Led by Perez's four kills in the set, Springfield hit .429 for the game, and coupled with the Engineers .034 attack percentage, the Pride never looked back. Alistair Matthews came off the bench and provided the exclamation point to the match with a kill from the right side to end the match, 25-15.
Springfield will now serve as host for the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic this upcoming weekend. Cal Baptist and Lees-McRae will kick off the action on Friday at 6:00 pm before Springfield will square off with UC Santa Cruz, the third-ranked team in Division III, at 8:00 pm. The consolations and championship will take play at 6:00 and 8:00 pm on Saturday evening.