Springfield, Mass. - March 23, 2010 - Senior AJ Nally recorded 16 kills and 17 digs, becoming the program's all-time career leader for digs, as the Springfield College men's volleyball team grinded out a 3-1 victory over Harvard in non-conference action on Tuesday.
The win boosts Springfield's record to 13-7 on the year, while Harvard drops to 2-12. SC, which is still ranked No. 1 in the country in this week's AVCA National Coaches Poll, won by the set scores of 30-23, 30-23, 29-31, 37-35.
Nally broke former Springfield standout Eduardo Stawinski's '05 career mark of 787 digs late in the third game. To date, Nally has totaled 794 digs in his career at Springfield.
Nally and Alistair Matthews each finished with 16 kills in the victory, with Nally's 17 digs being a match-high. For the third time this season, Greg Falcone finished with double-digit blocks as he totaled 10 stuffs in the contest to go along with seven kills. Cal Palumbo posted 13 kills at a .647 clip out of the middle, while Mike Pelletier chipped in 13 kills and seven digs for SC. Eric Shoemaker delivered 54 assists to go along with seven digs and four blocks. Both Falcone and Palumbo were credited with three aces apiece in the win.
Nicola Ivica registered a match-high 19 kills and added nine digs and six blocks for the Crimson. Erik Kuld added 15 kills and Matt Jones totaled 12 kills and nine digs. Soren Rosier led Harvard with seven blocks, and Gil Weintraub and Rob Lothman combined for 52 assists in the loss.
A double block by Shoemaker and Palumbo gave Springfield a 12-11 lead in the first game, a lead which Springfield would extend to 19-14 after a Pelletier solo stuff. A Nally kill, one of his seven in the opening frame, gave Springfield an eight-point cushion at 27-19 and SC held on for the 30-23 game one victory.
The Springfield offense was fluid in the second game as it combined to hit .583 in the set with Nally and Palumbo each registering four kills to lead the way. A Jones kill put the Crimson in front 12-11, only to have the Pride rattle off seven of the set's next eight points to give the hosts an 18-14 advantage. Harvard got within five, but Matthews closed the door on the game as Springfield owned a two-game advantage.
SC appeared poised to complete the three-game sweep as an Ivica service error handed Springfield a 29-26 lead in the third. Ivica then put away a ball to make it 29-27, before Harvard took advantage of three consecutive Springfield attack errors to earn set point. Kuld registered a kill off the Pride block to complete the visitors comeback as they took the third set, 31-29.
Springfield posted 25 kills in the final and fourth game but needed to play some extra volleyball to earn the four-game win. Once again, Springfield let a late lead slip away as its 24-21 advantage disappeared thanks to an 8-4 Harvard run capped off by an Ivica kill. With set point, Springfield went to Falcone who tied the game at 29, only to have an SC attack error hand the Crimson set point once again. Pelletier then delivered a kill for the hosts to tie the game at 30, leading up to five-straight ties, the last coming at 35-all. Nally posted his 16th kill of the night as Springfield earned match point, and Harvard ended the evening with an attack error as the Pride won in four sets. Matthews paced Springfield's attack in the final game, totaling nine of his 16 kills in the set.
Springfield will now gear up for a critical road trip this weekend through the state of Pennsylvania. Springfield will battle rival Juniata on Saturday evening with a berth to the Molten National Championship on the line, before squaring off against conference-rival St. Francis on Sunday afternoon.