SPRINGFIELD, Mass., February 16, 2007 – Springfield College junior outside hitter Eric Palumbo (Chili, N.Y.) had a team-high 17 kills on 33 swings with just six errors for a .333 hitting percentage as the fifth-ranked Pride defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), 3-0 (30-28, 30-26, 30-23), this evening in Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Hay Division play. Palumbo also added seven digs, one block, one service ace and produced a team-best 18.5 points.
With the victory this evening in Blake Arena, SC hands the Highlanders just their first loss of the 2007 season. The Pride improves to 9-5 overall on the season and 3-0 in EIVA Hay play, as NJIT falls to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in conference action.
SC freshman outside hitter AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) had 10 kills, seven digs and one block. Juniors Ryan Fredrickson (Manahawkin, N.J.) and Brandon Waas (Spencerport, N.Y.) led the Pride in digs with eight each. Sophomore middle blocker Andy Sipe (New Oxford, Pa.) led all players in the match with six blocks, while Fredrickson chipped in with four blocks of his own.
NJIT junior opposite Leonardo Paludo led everyone with 19 kills for 19 total points. Paludo compiled 19 kills and seven errors on 41 attempts for a .293 hitting percentage. Sophomore Amobi Armstrong racked up a match-high 10 digs to add to his nine kills, and freshman outside hitter Charles Bell paced the Highlanders with three solo blocks.
NJIT opened the first game on a 12-7 run capped by a kill from Paludo. Another Paludo kill later gave the Highlanders a 15-10 advantage, but SC responded with a 7-2 run to tie the match at 17 apiece off a kill from Palumbo. The game was neck-and-neck the rest of the way and with the score still tied at 28-all, kills from Sipe and Palumbo gave the Pride the early victory (30-28).
NJIT opened game two much like it did in game one, this time jumping out to a 10-7 advantage off another Paludo kill. SC would then tie the game at 12 apiece, and with the score still tied later on in the game (20-20), the Pride scored three consecutive points to take control. During the mini three-point rally, juniors Chris Shekell (Rochester, N.Y.) and Dave Smietana (Buffalo, N.Y.) were each credited with kills. SC went on to win game two, 30-26.
The Pride opened the third game on a 10-4 tear and never looked back, taking the frame and the match by a score of 30-23. After starting its season 0-3, SC has won nine of its past 11 matches. The Pride looks to keep it going when it hosts 15th-ranked Rivier College tomorrow evening, February 17th, in a 7:00 p.m. start at Blake Arena.