Springfield, Mass. - February 12, 2011 - For the second-consecutive evening, the Springfield College men's volleyball team let a two-set lead slip away as Philadelphia Biblical rallied for a 3-2 win in Blake Arena on Saturday evening. The Crimson Eagles won by the set scores of 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-13.
The Crimson Eagles, ranked ninth in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improve to 9-2, while the top-ranked Pride drop to 3-8.
Springfield had four players record double-digit kills, with Alberto Bravo posting a team-best 13 kills. Mike Pelletier added 12 kills and 10 digs, while Cal Palumbo continued his efficient play with 11 kills at a .562 clip to go along with four blocks. Greg Falcone notched 10 kills, and Nick Ferry had a standout night defensively as he recorded a career-high 16 digs. Mike Becker led a Springfield offense which hit .315 in the match with 55 assists, seven digs, and five blocks.
Philadelphia Biblical rode the incredible play of Justin Brubaker, who cranked out 30 kills on 64 attempts for a .328 hitting percentage. Noah Prickett added 11 kills, while Ethan Mawhinney registered seven kills on nine errorless swings. Both Prickett and Jeff Stauffer posted 11 digs for the visitors, while Drew Dillon handed out 52 assists in the victory.
After a Brubaker kill evened the opening set at 11, Springfield scored six of the set's next eight points to take a 17-13 lead and force a PBU timeout. The Crimson Eagles would get as close as three six times, but the Pride powered its way to an opening set win as Palumbo and Becker combined to end the game with a double block.
Springfield's offense was unstoppable in the second set as it hit .583 while ripping 16 kills on 24 attempts. In fact, Springfield tallied 10 kills on their first 12 swings to open up a 14-8 lead and force a timeout by the visitors. The Pride led by as many as eight in the game and took a two-set lead after a Philadelphia Biblical service error. Both Falcone and Bravo had four kills in the frame.
Brubaker then began to put his stamp on the game as he took over, posting nine kills in the third set alone. Tied at eight-all, the visitors scored four straight points all off of Springfield errors as they snagged a four-point cushion at 12-8. The Crimson Eagles never looked back as Springfield wouldn't get any closer than two before Prickett slammed home a kill to make it a 2-1 contest.
Once again a four-point swing proved to be pivotal as PBU took advantage of two Springfield attack errors coupled with kills by Brubaker and Prickett to make a 13-all game, 17-13. Springfield battled back to even the set at 24 after a Crimson Eagle attack error, only to have Prickett pound two-straight kills to send the match to a fifth set.
The Crimson Eagles appeared in total control of the fifth after a Brubaker termination gave the visitors an 8-4 lead. Springfield aptly responded with a 7-3 run, thanks in part to three PBU attack errors, to even the set at 11. After Mawhinney and Bravo traded kills, a Crimson Eagle attack error gave Springfield a 13-12 lead with the serve. The visitors went to Brubaker to tie the set at 13, and Dillon then set up match point with a service ace. Philadelphia Biblical then benefited from another Springfield attack error to complete the comeback.
On Monday evening, Springfield will travel on the Mass Turnpike to square off against Harvard in non-conference competition. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
(Photo by Cindi Williamson of Fat Dog Fotos)