Princeton, N.J. – February 28, 2009 – In dominating fashion, the top-ranked Springfield College men’s volleyball team downed Princeton in four games on Saturday afternoon in EIVA Tait action.
The Pride, which has now won four-straight matches, took the match by the game scores of 22-30, 30-22, 31-29, 30-16.
The story of the game proved to be the Pride’s block as Springfield finished with 20 team blocks, all coming on 40 block assists. It marked the second time this season that Springfield reached the 20-block mark as a team, as Springfield also recorded 20 team blocks against Elms College on January 29th.
The game also served as a bit of Springfield history as Andy Sipe became the program’s all-time leader in career block assists as he notched his 387th career block assist. Sipe surpassed former Springfield standout James Seitelman, who recorded 384 from 1999-2002. Sipe also now just needs three total blocks to pass Seitelman and become the program’s all-time leader in total blocks.
A crucial comeback late in the third set provided the winning push for the Pride, which completed a big weekend sweep with a 3-1 victory over Princeton Saturday afternoon at Dillon Gym. Springfield improved to 9-6 on the year and after back-to-back conference wins, moves to 3-4 in league action.
Princeton came out on fire, hitting a team-best .577 in the opening set; the Tigers took the lead from the start and never let it get away in a 30-22 loss. Springfield, coming off a road win at Juniata Friday night, battled back in the second set and took a 30-22 decision, which set up the crucial third set.
After zero lead changes combined in the first two, the third set saw eight lead changes and 16 ties. Down 26-25, Princeton got a kill from Carl Hamming and consecutive aces from Vincent to build a 28-26 lead. The Tigers had a swing at a three-point lead, but Vincent Tuminelli’s swing was blocked by Sipe and b>Ryan Fredrickson. Down 28-27, Springfield tied the match when Sipe’s serve hit the top of the net and bounced in between two players. A Jeff McCown kill gave Princeton a set ball at 29-28, but a back-and-forth point ended with a missed pass on Princeton’s side. With another life, Springfield got back-to-back kills from AJ Nally and Eric Shoemaker to take a 31-29 set and a 2-1 overall lead.
In the fourth game, there was no stopping Springfield as the visitors connected on 16 kills off 20 swings for an incredible .750 hitting percentage. In the final frame, SC won 18 of the last 22 points to clinch the win.
Mark Ribeiro continued his strong play as he led Springfield with a match-high 16 kills, hitting .429, to go along with seven blocks. Cal Palumbo and Nally each added 11 kills and eight blocks apiece, while Sipe finished his historic night with six kills on seven swings and eight blocks as well. Shoemaker directed the attack with 48 assists, while Nally and Brandon Waas each totaled nine digs in the win. As a team, Springfield hit an impressive .432 for the match.
Mike Vincent had a team-high 15 kills, while Princeton also got double-digit kills from outsides Vincent Tuminelli (14) and Phil Rosenberg (13), as well as 54 assists from senior Brandon Denham. McCown had nine kills and seven blocks for the Tigers, who hit .260 for the match and have now lost two straight home divisional matches.