Newark, N.J. - March 8, 2011 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team put together another strong performance as it swept Rutgers-Newark on the road in EIVA Tait Conference action on Tuesday evening. Springfield was victorious by the scores 25-17, 29-27, 25-16.
The Pride are now 9-11, 3-5 in league play, while Rutgers drops to 12-4, 3-4. Springfield was once again ranked the top-team in Division III in this afternoon's AVCA national poll, marking the eighth week it has sat atop the rankings.
No player for either team recorded double-digit kills as the Pride picked up a critical match in conference play.
Senior middle blocker Cal Palumbo hit .500 with eight kills, two aces and a pair of assisted blocks for the Pride, while senior opposite Alberto Bravo added seven kills, three aces and two assisted blocks. Sophomore setter Mike Becker, who totaled 29 assists and five blocks, delivered four of Springfield’s season-high 11 aces. Sophomore middle Greg Falcone added five blocks, and freshman swing Tommy Crow recorded seven digs. Springfield hit. 310 for the match, it's fifth-straight match hitting over .300.
The Scarlet Raiders hit a season-low .138 (31 kills, 20 errors, 80 attacks) with only junior opposite Austin Pappas reaching double-digit points with eight kills and two aces. Junior middle hitter Grant Metheny hit .500, knocking down seven kills with just one error on a dozen swings, but no one else on the squad hit better than and .250.
Tied at four early in the opening set, Springfield scored the next five points behind the strong serving of Becker to open up a 9-4 lead. After a Crow kill made it 15-7, Rutgers called its second timeout of the stanza to quell the Pride attack. Springfield continued to pour on the pressure, leading by as many as nine, and was able to hold off a late Scarlet Knight 3-0 run to take the set 25-17.
In the second-set, a kill by Pappas put the hosts up 18-15. The Pride responded with three-straight points off kills by Bravo and Palumbo before a Ryan Lilley ace made it 18 all. The teams would trade points until Becker served up an ace to give the Pride a 24-23 advantage. Marin Midura sided out with a kill, and the teams would go back to exchanging points until Bravo's fifth kill of the set made it 28-27, and a Rutgers attack error gave the Pride a 29-27 victory.
Springfield dominated the final set as it hit .435 and limited the hosts to just a .000 hitting percentage. Leading 11-9, Springfield put together a 9-4 burst, capped off by a block by Falcone and Becker to make it 20-13 and force another Rutgers timeout. Palumbo completed the match with his fourth kill of the game.
Springfield will play its final match before Spring Break as it battles seventh-ranked Baruch at 7:30 pm on Thursday evening. That match will be the first of a six-match homestand for the Pride.
(Photo by Cindi Williamson of Fat Dog Fotos)