Springfield, Mass. - March 5, 2011 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team dropped a four-set match to Penn State University on Saturday evening in EIVA Tait Conference action. The Nittany Lions prevailed 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19.
Springfield had its four-match winning streak snapped as it falls to 8-11, 2-5 in league play. The Nittany Lions remain in control of the conference as they improve to 14-3, 7-0 against league foes. Springfield entered the match ranked first in the country in Division III, while Penn State is the 11th-ranked team in Division I.
Alberto Bravo notched a team-best 15 kills for Springfield, while both Cal Palumbo and Mike Pelletier recorded 11 kills apiece. Mike Becker delivered 44 assists, seven digs and two aces, while both Pelletier and Nick Ferry totaled seven digs. Palumbo added four blocks in the loss.
Joe Sunder finished with a match-high 16 kills at a .464 clip, while Tom Comfort added 12 kills and seven digs. Jace Olsen pounded out 11 kills to go along with four blocks and three aces, and Edgardo Goas registered 38 assists, five digs, five kills, and three blocks. Dennis Del Valle posted a match-high nine digs and Ian Hendries added four blocks as well for the Nittany Lions.
With over 1,000 fans in attendance, the crowd witnessed some impressive volleyball from the opening whistle. A solo stuff by Goas allowed Penn State to open up an early 14-11 lead, only to have Springfield heat up from behind the service line to take a 17-15 lead. Bravo ripped a pair of aces in the spurt, while Tommy Crow added one of his own as Penn State called the first timeout of the match. The Nittany Lions regrouped and eventually snagged a 22-20 advantage after a service error by the Pride. Springfield battled back to even the set at 23 after big kill by Palumbo, however, the Pride served the next ball out and Sunder gave the visitors a 25-23 with a kill.
The second set was back-and-forth as it featured 18 ties and seven lead changes. Trailing 19-18, the Pride went to the middle as Greg Falcone connected for back-to-back kills, forcing another Penn State timeout at 20-19. The visitors evened the set at 22 after another kill from Sunder, but Springfield closed out the set with a kill by Falcone, a huge block by Crow and Palumbo, and a Crow kill in transition to even the match at a set apiece.
Sunder was the difference in the third as he connected for seven kills on eight-errorless swings to pace the Nittany Lions. After a Bravo kill gave Springfield a 14-13 lead, Olsen led a 5-0 Nittany Lion run as he tallied two aces and a kill to give the visitors an 18-14 lead. Springfield got within two at 22-20 after a kill from Pelletier, but Penn State went on to take a 2-1 lead after Olsen banged home a kill.
Springfield continued to hang tough in the fourth as it found itself tied at 10 all after a Penn State service error. However, Penn State proved to be too strong down the stretch though as it hit .526 in the game and took advantage of nine Springfield service errors to win the set 25-19. The Pride trailed by as many as eight in the set, but hung around as it hit .455 itself.
The Pride will hit the road on Tuesday to take on Rutgers at 7:00 pm.