Springfield, Mass. – March 6, 2009 – The Springfield College men’s volleyball team hit .415 for the match and totaled 13.5 blocks as it cruised past EIVA Tait Conference foe NJIT in three games on Friday evening in Blake Arena. The Pride took the match by the game scores of 30-24, 30-15, 30-21.
The win, the fifth straight for the top-ranked team in Division III, improves Springfield to 10-6, 4-4 in league play. The Highlanders drop to 3-9, 0-7 in league play after dropping their eighth-straight match.
Andy Sipe became Springfield’s all-time leading blocker as he finished with six block assists in the victory. Sipe registered his record-breaking stuff in the opening stanza as he and Eric Shoemaker combined for a double block to give Springfield a 26-20 lead. The senior middle blocker to date now has 466 total blocks and passed former Springfield standout James Seitelman’s mark of 462 blocks from 1999-2002.
Springfield, which hit over .400 as a team for the second-straight match after hitting .432 at Princeton last Saturday, received impressive offensive efforts from several players. AJ Nally totaled a match-high 12 kills, hitting .529, while Mark Ribeiro continued his hot play with eight kills, hitting .500. Cal Palumbo registered seven kills at a .455 clip to go along with five blocks, while Ryan Fredrickson added nine kills and six digs. Shoemaker handed out 34 assists, while Brandon Waas led the defensive effort with a match-high eight digs. SC recorded seven aces in the game as Ribeiro, Nally, and Shoemaker each had a pair.
For the visitors, Charles Bell was the only player to tally double-digit kills as he totaled 10 in the match. Amobi Armstrong tacked on nine kills, while Adam Gustafson dished out 19 assists in two games. Chuck Richmond totaled seven digs in the loss. For the match, NJIT was limited to a .090 hitting percentage.
With the score tied at 10 in the opening set, SC used three-straight kills from Fredrickson, Shoemaker, and Palumbo to open up a three-point lead it would not relinquish. The Highlanders got within two at 22-20 after a Pride attack error, but SC once again used a three-point spurt to force a Highlander time out. A Fredrickson kill closed out the first game as SC took the frame, 30-24. The Pride hit .429 in the first frame as the offense was clicking from the start.
Springfield raced out a 15-7 lead to start the second game, capped off by a triple block by Sipe, Nally, and Fredrickson. Hitting .500 for the set as it connected for 15 kills on 24 swings, the Pride never was challenged as the Highlanders hit a paltry -.036.
The third game started off much closer as the teams were knotted a five after a Robert Thomas kill. Once again, SC used a 6-0 run fueled by a pair of Shoemaker aces, to take control of the set. As it completed the three-game sweep with a 30-21 victory, Springfield held NJIT to a .095 hitting percentage. Ribeiro posted four kills in the frame to pace the SC attack, while Palumbo posted three blocks, including a solo stuff.
Springfield returns to action on Tuesday evening as it takes on No. 8 Vassar in a rematch of last year’s Molten National Championship game. First serve is slated for 7:00 pm in Blake Arena.