Fairfax, Va. – April 10, 2009 – Despite holding a two games to one lead, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team dropped a key EIVA Tait Conference match at George Mason on Friday evening. The Patriots won by the game scores of 30-28, 24-30, 21-30, 31-29, 15-12.
Mark Ribeiro and Cal Palumbo paced the Pride attack with 17 kills apiece in the contest. Palumbo was outstanding as he hit at a .500 clip to go along with six blocks while Ribeiro added eight digs and three blocks. AJ Nally posted 16 kills, seven digs, and four blocks, while Brandon Waas tallied 17 digs as SC’s libero. Andy Sipe chipped in with 11 kills and Eric Shoemaker directed the attack with 61 assists in the contest.
Facing its final point of the match, the George Mason mens volleyball team rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to defeat SC.
With the win, the Patriots improve to 11-13 overall and 4-5 in EIVA Tait Division matches. Springfield College falls to 14-9 overall and 6-6 in conference matches. The Pride is one spot ahead of Mason in the conference standings in fourth place. Both teams have already clinched a berth in the EIVA Championship Tournament.
After coming from behind to take the first set 30-28, the Patriots stumbled in the next two sets, losing 30-24 and 30-21 to fall behind 2-1 in the match. Springfield College never trailed in its third-set victory.
In the fourth set, the Pride appeared poised to put an end to the match after taking a 29-28 lead when Luke Maloneys attack sailed wide for the Patriots. Facing match point, George Mason head coach Fred Chao took a timeout and it paid off as the Patriots rebounded to take the next three points to extend the match to a fifth set.
The momentum from Masons fourth-set win carried over to the fifth as the Patriots got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 4-1 lead to force a timeout by Springfield College. The Pride came back to tie the score twice, including at 12-all, but Mason never relinquished its lead, closing out the set 15-12 when freshman Andrew Dentler put down a Brandon Joyner set for his 16th kill of the night. Ben Nichols and Lance Rogers came up big in the final set. Nichols finished with five kills, two digs and two blocks, while Rogers totaled three kills and two blocks.
Maloney led the Patriots with 17 kills in the match. Dentler finished with 16, Nichols had 12 and Gramit had 11. Ryan Kwiatkowski and Brandon Joyner split duties at setter, finishing with 62 assists between the two of them. Kwiatkowski registered 39 assists, while Joyner had 23. Sophomore Eric Lucas had a team-high nine digs.