HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- April 14, 2007 -- Third-seed Springfield College overcame a pair of lopsided game losses to earn a comeback victory over fourth-seed Stevens Institute of Technology in the third-place match of the 2007 Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship at Juniata College.
In a match dominated by both defenses, Springfield (19-9) rallied back after trailing two-games-to-one to post a 30-18, 23-30, 19-30, 30-25, 15-9 win. Stevens (33-9) was defeated in five games in both of its Molten matches after the Ducks lost to top-seed Carthage in five games Friday night.
AJ Nally, just recently named AVCA Division III National Newcomer of the Year, led the Pride with 15 kills while also finishing with a team-high 16 digs in the contest. Springfield produced 55 digs in the match to just 34 for Stevens and had four players reach double figures in kills. Second-Team AVCA All-American Ryan Fredrickson finished with 14 kills for the Pride to go with seven digs. Javier Rosario and First Team All-American Andy Sipe chipped in with 11 and 10 kills respectively. Eric Shoemaker had 47 assists to lead the Pride offense in the match. Rosario was also in double figures with 12 digs, while Sipe paced the team with six blocks.
Stevens did its damage at the net as the Ducks out-blocked the higher seed 18-11 in the match, but were also hurt by 15 serving errors. Scott Stoner produced a team-high 16 kills in the match, while he also led all players with 17 digs. Tomas Bochicchio was also in double figures with 14 kills and added four blocks in the match. Michael Schulte distributed 46 assists for Stevens and added four blocks. Five different players posted four or more blocks in the match, with Stoner and Will Foley each finishing with six.
Springfield took control early in game five and never looked back. An early ace from Rosario and a solo block from Nally gave the Pride a 6-2 advantage. Stevens pulled within two points at 6-4 after a Springfield attack error, but the Pride pulled back to a six-point edge at 12-6 following a Fredrickson finish. The Ducks staved off one game point with a Bochicchio kill, but Sipe ended the match with his 10th finish.
Springfield got started quickly in game one, using a kill from Dave Smietana to help build an 8-3 advantage. Stevens countered with a 4-1 run, capped by a Foley block that cut the deficit to 9-7. Springfield answered back with an 8-2 run which came on a Rosario serving run and gave the Pride a comfortable 19-10 edge. Late kills from Fredrickson and Nally closed the 30-18 win.
Stevens bounced back in convincing fashion in game two as a kill from Bochicchio and a Foley ace gave the Ducks a 13-6 lead. A service ace from Sipe helped Springfield pull within five points, but that was as close as the Pride got as a late ace from Trinsey and a Bochicchio kill closed out the game.
In game three, Stevens took control midway through the contest. With the score tied at 15, the Ducks put together a 7-1 run, capped by a service ace from Schulte. Andrew Cranford then served three-straight points and Stoner closed the game with a kill.
Springfield was not to be denied as the Pride rebounded with a convincing win in game four. The big run again came midway through the game, as a Fredrickson kill sparked a 6-1 run that put the Pride in front 21-16. Stevens inched back into the game and were trailing by just two at 23-21 following a kill from Cranford, but Springfield got consecutive kills from Nally to help pull away and force a game five.