Springfield, Mass. - March 2, 2010 - AJ Nally posted 19 kills at a .400 clip to go along with nine digs and five blocks to lead the Springfield College men's volleyball team past visiting Sacred Heart in three games on Tuesday evening. The Pride swept the match by the scores of 30-22, 30-26, 30-24.
Springfield, which is ranked third in the country in Division III, improves to 10-6 on the year, while the Pioneers drop to 9-7.
Nally continued his terrific play of late as he was the lone member of the Pride to notch double digit kills in the victory. Eight different players recorded kills in the match for the Pride, including Greg Falcone who notched seven kills while hitting .500. The trio of Mike Pelletier, Alberto Bravo, and Alistair Matthews all recorded five kills as well. Nally's nine digs were a team-high, while both Pelletier and Alex Harrison chipped in with seven digs of their own.
Springfield's block was dominant in the match as it finished with 17.5 team blocks, compared to just 4.0 by the visitors. Cal Palumbo finished with a match-high nine blocks, while both Falcone and Eric Shoemaker tallied seven stuffs. Shoemaker directed the offense on the evening with 40 assists and added six digs.
Nick Hunt led Sacred Heart with 10 kills out of the middle, hitting .353 in the process. Craig Harvey, Roger Parent, and Kalani Efstahiou each registered nine kills of their own. Parent totaled a team-best nine digs with Scott Grandpre adding eight as SHU's libero. Tim Sadowski ended with a match-high 42 assists and a team-high three blocks.
Springfield finished the night hitting .327 as a team, while the Pioneers could only muster a .156 attacking percentage, much in part to Springfield's block.
After a back-and-forth start in the opening set, an Efstathiou kill put the visitors up early at 12-10. Springfield responded with the next five points, including a triple block by Shoemaker, Palumbo, and Nally, to force a Pioneer timeout and gain a 15-10 lead. Back-to-back kills made it a 15-14 game, but Nally then pounded home a kill to give Springfield a two-point cushion that would balloon to as many as eight in the frame. Palumbo posted five blocks in the opening game, while Nally led the way with six kills and four blocks.
SC poured on the pressure to start the second game as a Matthews service ace capped off a quick 6-2 spurt to open the set. The Pride didn't let up as a Falcone kill gave the hosts a 15-7 advantage, only to have the visitors get within three, 21-18, after a Springfield attack error. Kills from Nally and Bravo coupled with a pair of Pioneer attack errors rebuilt the Pride's lead to five at 24-19, and SC went on to take the second game by a 30-26 count. Nally poured in seven kills on 12 swings in the second frame for SC's attack.
The Pride found themselves trailing 12-8 in the third after Hunt and Sawoski teammed up for a double block, forcing Charlie Sullivan to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, SC rattled of a 9-3 run, punctuated by a double block from Falcone and Bravo, to gain a 17-15 lead. Several plays later, a Springfield service error tied the game at 19, but the Pioneers then served a ball into the net and Nally tacked on yet another kill, giving SC a 21-19 advantage. A Parent kill brought SHU within one, but that would be as close as the Pioneers would get as the Pride ended the match on a 9-4 run, with Falcone ending the evening with his seventh kill.
The Pride will next suit up on Friday evening in a critical matchup against rival and top-ranked Juniata College. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 pm.