Springfield, Mass. -- February 5, 2011 -- Led by the Classic Most Valuable Player, Levi Cabral, the California Baptist men's volleyball team captured the 2011 Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic over the University of the Pacific. In the consolation match, it was the Springfield College men's volleyball team coming away with a 3-0 victory over Grand Canyon University tonight at SC's Blake Arena. Cal Baptist won by the set scores of 25-18,27-25, 25-14. Springfield won over Grand Canyon 27-25, 25-20, 25-23.
The win boosts Cal Baptist, the top-ranked NAIA team in the country, record to 10-3, while Pacific falls to 5-6.
Cabral had another monster match as he pounded out a match-high 15 kills at a .444 clip to go along with five digs and five blocks. Fellow All-Tournament team honoree Sebastien Steigmeyier added 12 kills while hitting .435. Blair Penner directed the Lancer attack with a .387 hitting percentage as he doled out 31 assists and tacked on five digs and five blocks. Ricky Brazee finished with a match-high six blocks.
For Pacific, All-Tournament selection Taylor Hughes was the lone Tiger to tally double-digit kills as he finished with 14 at a .346 clip. Sean Daley added five kills and three blocks, and Javier Caceres notched a match-high seven digs. As a team, Pacific hit just .076 for the match.
Cal Baptist finished with 12.5 team blocks and posted five service aces.
With its win, Springfield, still ranked #1 in the nation according to the AVCA Division III poll, is now 3-5, while Grand Canyon dips to 5-10.
In a tournament that yearly features some of the best teams in the entire country, tonight's win marks just the third time in 11 years that Springfield has won a match in the Classic. Now in its 24th year overall, Springfield has won matches in back-to-back years after toppling George Mason in four sets in last year's consolation.
Senior opposite Alberto Bravo (Tao Baja, Puerto Rico) led the Pride with 12 kills this evening. He had only four errors in 18 swings for a .444 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Mike Pelletier (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) followed with nine kills and just two errors in 22 swings for a .318 hitting percentage.
Making a big difference in play, however, was senior All-America middle blocker Cal Palumbo (Rochester, N.Y.) with his .556 hitting percentage (six kills, one error, in nine swings) and his eight blocks. Also playing well was sophomore setter Mike Becker (Hempfield, Pa.) with his 35 set assists.
As a team, SC finished with 21 blocks, compared to Grand Canyon's 15. SC finished with a .377 hitting percentage, compared to .200 for the Antelopes.
For Grand Canyon, which is in Phoenix, Ariz., sophomore libero Trent Bruns (Mission Viejo, Calif.) topped all players with 10 digs. Freshman outside hitter Ben Ponnet (Merchtem, Belgium) led with nine kills. Right behind him were sophomore outside hitter Jordan Tarantino (Valley Center, Calif.) and freshman outside hitter Ben Hunt (Huntington Beach, Calif.) with eight kills each. Sophomore setter Brad Moore had 33 set assists.
In set #3, Grand Canyon led 19-16, but SC scored four straight points to take a 20-19 lead. The Antelopes retook the lead at 22-21, but the Pride scored four of the last five points to clinch the match.
Springfield is now off until it travels to Sacred Heart on Tuesday, Feb. 8 for a 7 pm match.
All Tournament Team
Cal Palumbo, Springfield College
Trent Burns, Grand Canyon
Javier Caceres, Pacific
Taylor Hughes, Pacific
Blair Penner, Cal Baptist
Sebastien Steigmeier, Cal Baptist
Levi Cabral, Cal Baptist, MVP
Mike Becker, Springfield College
Serving Contest Champion
Mike MacNeil, Cal Baptist
Spike Contest Champion
Daniel Freitas, Cal Baptist
Levi Cabral, Tournament MVP