Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - January 22, 2010 - The trio of AJ Nally, Alex Harrison, and Cal Palumbo accounted for 49 kills on a combined .494 hitting percentage as the third-ranked Springfield College men's volleyball dispatched the ninth-ranked Vassar Brewers on Friday night.
Springfield won the four-game match by the scores of 30-16, 30-27, 27-30, 30-24.
After dropping its first two matches of the season on a west coast swing last week, the Pride now stand at 1-2 on the season, while Vassar drops its first match of the season and is 1-1 in 2010.
Nally led the Springfield offense as he tallied 20 kills at a .487 clip and 13 digs, while Harrison continued to impress with 18 kills, while hitting .395, to go along with a team-best 14 digs . Palumbo, a two-time All-American, has started his junior year off in dominant fashion as for the second-straight match he did not commit an attack error. Over his last two matches, Palumbo has notched 20 kills on 33 swings for an incredible .606 hitting percentage.
All-American Eric Shoemaker directed Springfield's offense with 57 assists in four games to go along with four blocks and a pair of aces. Freshman Greg Falcone dominated the net as he posted a career-best nine blocks, including eight assisted stops. As a team, the Pride hit .308 and overcame 19 service errors.
Springfield opened the match with a fury, dominating Vassar in the opening set in a 30-16 win. The Pride could do little wrong in hitting .344 compared to .024 for the Brewers. Junior opposite Alberto Bravo had five kills on seven attempts without an error in the stanza as the Pride opened the match with a 7-1 lead, built it to 25-13 and cruised from that point.
After shaking off a sluggish start and a fierce Springfield opening set, the Brewers rebounded in the second set to tie the match at 9-9, but the Pride was bolstered by a six kill set from Harrison who kept the visitors ahead from that point on. Vassar junior hitter Evan Fredericksen equaled Harrison’s performance with six kills and was aided by four kills each from senior hitter Phil Tully and freshman hitter Matthew Elgin. However, Vassar’s 11 attack errors enabled Springfield to withstand a comeback that saw the Brewers draw within 26-25 following a kill by Elgin. Down the stretch kills by Nally and Palumbo gave the Pride a 2-0 match lead.
Vassar played its best overall set in taking the third 30-27. The Brewers broke out fast, taking a 10-3 lead, built that margin to 17-10 before the Pride made the set interesting by getting within three points, 26-23, following a kill by sophomore outside hitter Jeff Gutmann. Despite immense pressure from the Pride, the Brewers did not wilt, getting another six kills from Fredericksen and four each from Tully and Elgin. A Tully kill earned Vassar the set in just the right time as Harrison got hot late, earning four kills on nine attempts without an error. Nally had four kills and Palumbo three in a set where each team had seven attack errors.
The deciding set featured three early ties, the last being 10-10. The Pride then went on a 9-2 run with Harrison serving, and was only halted by a Konow kill brought Vassar back into the set at 19-13. A Springfield attack error closed the match at 24-21 in the visitors favor and Harrison’s five kills with a single error on 10 attempts proved the difference in the 30-24 victory.
Vassar was paced by Fredericksen with 17 kills, followed by Tully’s 10 and Elgin’s nine. Konow had 43 set assists and senior Andres Posada had a career-best 16 digs. Tully had 13 digs and Konow 12.
Springfield returns to action on Saturday evening when it opens conference play against Division-I foe Penn State at 5:00 pm in Blake Arena. The Nittany Lions enter the match as the sixth-ranked team in the latest AVCA Division I/II National Poll.