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St. Francis Upends No.1 Men’s Volleyball, 3-2

Loretto, Pa. – February 1, 2009 – Despite 20 kills from AJ Nally, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team dropped its second match in a row as it fell to St. Francis in five games on Sunday afternoon. Springfield dropped the match by the game scores of 26-30, 30-19, 30-24, 29-31, 15-9.

Springfield now stands at 4-2 on the season, including an 0-2 mark in EIVA play.

Ryan Fredrickson added 14 kills for SC while Andy Sipe tallied 10 kills, hitting .529. Eric Shoemaker handed out 47 assists and notched 10 digs for the Pride. Bob Waters posted a team-best 11 digs, while Cal Palumbo added eight kills and five blocks.

Jordan Varee was outstanding for the Red Flash as he pounded out a match-high 27 kills, hitting .426, to go along with six blocks. Nick Rivett added 18 kills, while Shane Conley dished out 61 assists directing the offensive attack. St. Francis had 26 block assists compared to the Pride’s 14, and outhit the visitors, .289 to .170.

Springfield led the first set from start to finish after jumping out to a 3-0 lead. The Pride staked an 11-4 lead , and took their largest lead at 17-8. Saint Francis went on a 5-1 run to pull within 18-13, but Springfield kept the Flash at arm’s length. The Pride held a 28-22 lead when SFU went on another 4-0 run to make it 28-25 and force them into a timeout. However, Springfield came out of the timeout to win two of three serves and clinch the win at 30-26 on a kill by Sipe. The Pride hit .357 in the first set, and got eight kills out of Nally. SFU hit .289, and had seven kills from Rivett and six from Varee.

  The Red Flash carried the momentum of their first set comeback bid into the second set. They immediately jumped out to their first lead of the match with a service error and a hitting error by the Pride. That lead extended to 7-2 behind three straight kills from Freyer, freshman Michael McLaughlin and sophomore Eric Syty, forcing Springfield into another timeout. Saint Francis used another 7-2 run to turn a 14-11 lead into a 21-13 advantage. The Red Flash never looked back, and closed out the set on a pair of service aces by Conley to tie the match at 1-1 with a 30-19 win.

  Springfield never led in the third set as SFU kept the Pride from pulling ahead with a slim lead most of the way. Leading 5-4, Saint Francis won three straight serves on a Varee kill and back-to-back hitting errors by Springfield. The Pride crawled back in at 14-12, but the Red Flash took their biggest lead of the set, 17-12, on a Varee kill and a pair of hitting errors by Springfield. The Pride again made it a two-point game, 24-22, when Syty sparked a 6-2 run to give the Red Flash a 2-1 lead with a 30-24 win in the third set.

  Springfield responded in the fourth set by jumping out 7-3, but SFU began to chip away and eventually tied the set at 10-10. The teams traded points and were tied at 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 before Saint Francis pulled ahead and appeared to have the match in control. Varee put away a kill after a terrific dig by Wappler, and two hitting errors gave SFU a 20-17 lead. Springfield battled back to tie at 23 and 24 before the Red Flash pulled ahead for match point at 29-27. However, back-to-back SFU hitting errors tied it at 29-29, and the Pride won the next two points with two blocks to clinch at 31-29 with a 4-0 run.

  Set number five was close through the first 15 serves with the Flash holding a slight 8-7 advantage. But Saint Francis went on a 5-0 run that put the Pride out of it. A service error and a double contact call made it 10-7, and it appeared Springfield would pull within 10-8 with a kill. However, the Pride’s kill attempt was dug by a Red Flash player and went high in the air back into the empty space of DeGol Arena. The ball was heading for no-man’s land when it grazed the Maurice Stokes banner and fell into the hands of Varee, and was then pushed over the net. The point was won by SFU to keep its run intact. Springfield stopped the bleeding with a kill, but Freyer had kills on two of the last three serves to help the Red Flash win the fifth, and deciding, set 15-9.

After playing two matches in the Keystone State, the Pride will welcome two Pennsylvania teams to Blake Arena next week as it hosts East Stroudsburg on Friday and Penn State on Saturday. Both matches will start at 7:00 pm.