Springfield, Mass. - March 22, 2011 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team bested visiting Sacred Heart in four games on Tuesday evening in non-conference play in Blake Arena. The set scores were 25-21, 26-28, 25-23, 25-23.
The Pride, who are now 11-11 on the season, picked up where it left off in its first match since returning from Spring Break. Springfield, which was once again ranked the top team in Division III in today's AVCA National Coaches Poll, has now rattled off seven wins in its last eight matches. The Pioneers fall to 7-8 with the loss.
For the Pride, Mike Pelletier continued to swing well from the left side, totaling 17 kills at a .556 clip to go along with six digs and five blocks. Alberto Bravo added 14 kills and nine blocks, while Greg Falcone contributed 11 kills at eight blocks. Nick Ferry anchored the defense with 15 digs, and Mike Becker directed the offense to a .351 hitting percentage as he handed out 49 assists.
The Pioneers had a pair of players record double-figure kills, with Enzo Mackenzie leading the way with 13 kills. Bradley Borsay notched 12 kills, and Patrick Sibley posted eight kills at a .500 clip to go along with a team-best eight blocks. Roger Parent recorded a match-high four aces and Tim Sadowski handed out 35 helpers.
As a team, Springfield recorded a season-best 18 team blocks, including 32 block assists. Sacred Heart hit just .183 for the match, marking the fourth time in the last five matches that Springfield has held its opponent below .200.
The visitors found themselves up 15-11 after Parent, Sibley, and Borsay combined for a triple block in the opening set. Springfield, which struggled to find its rhythm from the start, eventually snagged a 20-18 lead after Becker, Cal Palumbo and Tommy Crow teamed up for a block. The teams traded service errors before a Sacred Heart hitting error gave Springfield a three-point cushion which it would carry into a 25-21 victory.
Both teams were much more efficient in the second set as Sacred Heart hit .400 and the Pride registered a .545 hitting percentage. After Palumbo and Becker combined for another big block to give Springfield a 21-17 advantage, the visitors reeled off a 6-1 run capped off by a Borsay kill as they took 23-22 lead. The teams sided out back-and-forth until consecutive kills from Borsay and Mackenzie gave the Pioneers a 28-26 win and evened the match at a set apiece.
After totaling just three kills in the first two sets combined, Bravo heated up with seven kills and three blocks in the third to pace Springfield. The set featured 17 ties, and the Pioneers held their last lead at 22-21 after Sibley and Mackenzie snuffed out a Pride swing. Sacred Heart committed an attack error on the next play to even the set, only to have a Pelletier kill and a triple block by Falcone, Bravo, and Crow make it a 24-22 ball game. Bravo ripped a ball on set point as Springfield won 25-23.
In the fourth, a Mackenzie kill made it 14-10 in favor of Sacred Heart, only to have a Springfield 5-1 run, fueled by a pair of Pelletier kills, tie the game at 15. The Pioneers, benefiting from seven Springfield service errors, eventually gained a 23-21 lead after another kill by Sibley out of the middle. Back-to-back kills by Palumbo and Bravo made it 23-all, forcing a Sacred Heart timeout. Out of the break, Scott McMahan tallied a service ace and then converted on a back-row swing as Springfield squeaked out another 25-23 win.
The Pride will play once again on Wednesday evening when it hosts in-state foe Harvard at 7:00 pm.