Springfield, Mass. - February 12, 2010 - AJ Nally became the seventh player in Springfield College men's volleyball history to record 1,000 career kills as the Pride downed Princeton in three games on Friday evening in EIVA Tait Conference action. SC won by the game scores of 30-25, 30-26, 30-26.
Springfield picked up his first conference win of the season as it improves to 5-4, 1-2 in league action, while Princeton drops to 2-4, 0-1.
Nally finished the night with 13 kills, hitting .391, to go along with a match-high 10 digs. The senior outside recorded his milestone kill early in the third game as he put an overpass away for the kill. Alistair Matthews continued to be outstanding for the Pride as the freshman notched a match-best 17 kills at a .476 clip to go along with three blocks and three aces in his first collegiate start. Cal Palumbo, who entered the game ranked first in the country in hitting percentage, finished with 10 kills on 15 swings, while hitting .467. Eric Shoemaker ran the Springfield offense to the tune of a .381 hitting percentage as he registered 45 assists, two aces and two blocks. Greg Falcone continued to be a great presence at the net as he totaled six blocks in the win. Early in his freshman season, Falcone also ranks first in the country in blocks per game.
For the visitors, Vincent Tuminelli tallied a team-best 13 kills and added six digs, while Pat Schwagler chipped in with 12 kills. Carl Hamming provided 10 kills for the Tigers and Jeff McCown posted seven kills and four blocks. Scott Liljestrom delivered 42 assists in the loss. As a team, Princeton hit .261 for the match, but was out-blocked 10.0-6.0 and did not record an ace compared to Springfield's eight.
In the opening frame, Springfield found themselves down 10-9 after a Schwagler kill. Springfield would regain a lead it would not give up as it scored six of the game's next seven points, as Matthews tallied an ace, kill, and teammed with Palumbo for a block to force Princeton to call a timeout. The Pride's lead grew to as many as seven on several occasions, but the Tigers chipped away, getting within three after a Hamming kill made it 28-25. Springfield went on to take the opening set as it used a Falcone kill and a Princeton attack error to win 30-25. Matthews was unstoppable in the opening stanza as he tallied six kills, hitting .625.
The second game featured nine ties and a pair of lead changes early. A Schwagler kill once again knotted the game at 10, only to have Springfield go on nearly an identical run, posting six of the next eight points to grab a 16-12 advantage. Nally posted both an ace and a kill in the spurt as the Tigers called a timeout. Springfield poured it on out of the break, scoring the set's next four points to take a commanding 20-12 lead. From there, Princeton roared back with a 7-2 run of its own to force Springfield into its first timeout of the match as its lead had shrunk to 22-19. A Nally kill out of the timeout put SC back up four, but the Tigers would not go away as they got within two, 26-24, after a McCown solo stuff. Springfield held on down the stretch as Matthews tallied a kill and Falcone ended the set with an ace to give the hosts a two-game advantage.
Both teams came out clicking on offense in the third as it was tied at seven without either team committing an attack error. However, back-to-back errors by Tuminelli opened up the door for Springfield as it grabbed a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Despite trailing by as many as six, Princeton held tough and got within two after a a Tuminelli kill made it 20-18 in favor of SC. The Pride finally took command of the game as it went on a 5-2 run, capped off by a Falcone and Mike Pelletier block, to own a 25-20 advantage. In fitting fashion, Matthews closed out the match with his 17th kill of the night to complete the three-game sweep. Palumbo had six kills on seven swings in the third stanza to pace the Pride attack.
The Pride will now gear up for a long week on the road as it will play three games away from Massachusetts next week. Springfield's first test will come on Tuesday evening as it travels south to take on Rutgers at 7:00 pm.