Princeton, N.J. - March 12, 2010 - With second place on the line in the EIVA Tait Conference, the Springfield College men's volleyball dropped a five-set match to Princeton on Friday evening. Despite winning the opening two sets, the Pride fell 28-30, 28-30, 30-26, 30-26, 15-11.
The loss snaps Springfield's four-match winning streak as the Pride now stand at 12-7, 3-4 in league play. Princeton improves to 7-5, 3-2 in conference action.
AJ Nally led Springfield with a season-best 24 kills as he tacked on nine digs and six blocks. Cal Palumbo pounded out a double double with 14 kills and 10 blocks, while Greg Falcone added 12 kills at a .556 clip and six blocks. Mike Pelletier chipped in with 10 kills as the fourth member of the Pride to tally double-digit kills. Eric Shoemaker totaled 59 assists and 12 digs in the loss.
Pat Schwagler was unstoppable for Princeton as he racked up 31 kills hitting .440 in the match. Vincent Tuminelli added 18 kills and Michel Dye and Jeff McCown recorded 12 kills out of the middle for the hosts. Scott Liljestorm finished with a match-high 66 assist, while McCown totaled eight blocks and Schwagler finished with a match-high 13 digs.
As a team, Springfield finished the match with 32 block assists for 16 team blocks, while Princeton totaled 13.5 team blocks of their own. Both teams battled back and forth throughout the night as the match was tied on 59 occasions.
In the opening set, a block by McCown and Hamming made it a 28-27 advantage in favor of Springfield. Nally responded on the ensuing point with a kill to give Springfield game point, but Princeton answered back with a kill by Tuminelli. Nally and Palumbo teamed up for Springfield's fifth team block of the set as the Pride took the first game, 30-28.
It was nip and tuck second game until a Pelletier kill gave Springfield a 27-25 lead. The Tigers chipped away until they were able to tie the set at 28 after a Schwagler kill. The Pride came through once again when it counted as Nally and Falcone posted kills to give the visitors a two-game advantage.
Springfield's offense struggled in the third game as it hit just .087, committing 12 attack errors Despite its struggles on offense, Springfield was locked in a battle in the third as the set was tied 18 times. After another Nally kill put Springfield up 25-24, but back-to-back Schwagler kills gave the hosts a 26-25 lead, and forced head coach Charlie Sullivan to call a timeout. Out of the break, Schwagler tallied another kill as Princeton built a two-point cushion it would not relinquish. The Tigers took the set 30-26 as Schwagler finished with four kills in the key run down the stretch, while McCown teammed up for a pair of double blocks to seal the set.
In the fourth, Springfield held a one-point lead at 24-23 after back-to-back Princeton hitting errors as the Tigers called a timeout. Princeton responded with a 4-0 run of their own, snagging a 27-24 lead and forcing the Pride into a timeout once again. Princeton was determined to send the match to a fifth set as it took the fourth, 30-26, with the game capped off by a Tuminelli kill.
A Falcone kill knotted things up at nine at the fifth, but Springfield's attack errors in the frame proved to be the difference as it committed four in the match's final eight points. The Tigers hit at a .375 clip, compared to the Pride's .118 hitting percentage. Nally's 24th kill of the night brought Springfield within three at 14-11, but Schwagler completed Princeton's comeback with his 31st kill to give the hosts a five-set victory.
Springfield will now take Spring Break off before taking on Harvard on March 23 at home. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 pm.