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UC San Diego Sweeps George Mason To Capture 2009 Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic; Springfield Falls To Saint Francis in the Consolation

Pictured above is the 2009 All-Tournament Team along with the Executive Director of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, Jerry Fitzsimons. Players pictured left to right: Eric Leserman, UCSD; Phil Bannan, UCSD; Kyle Gramit, George Mason; Ben Nichols, George Mason; MVP Will Ehrman, UCSD; and AJ Nally, Springfield. Not pictured is: Jordan Varee, St. Francis (Pa.).

Springfield, Mass. — February 14, 2009 — Fueled by Classic MVP Will Ehrman’s 14-kill, 13-dig performance, the UC San Diego Tritons cruised to a three-game victory in the championship match of the 2009 Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic on Saturday evening at Springfield College’s Blake Arena. UCSD took the tournament crown by the game scores of 30-18, 30-21, 30-15. Earlier, Saint Francis (Pa.) University downed the host Pride, 3-1, in the consolation match, 30-17, 30-25, 28-30, 30-19.

The Tritons were phenomenal in the championship match as they hit .469 as a team, paced by Ehrman’s outstanding individual performance. His 14 kills came at a .481 hitting clip, while he tacked on a match-high 13 digs and two aces. Teammate Jason Spangler notched 13 kills, hitting .524, while Frank Fritsch added 10 kills. Adrian Guthals recorded eight kills and six blocks out of the middle for UCSD, while Phil Bannan handed out 42 assists in directing the Triton offense. Eric Leserman also chipped in with eight digs on the defensive side of the ball.

For the Patriots, Kyle Gramit finished with 16 kills as he was the lone member of his team with double digit kills. No other Patriot finished with more than three kills in the game as the George Mason offense struggled, hitting just .064 for the match. Eric Lucas tallied a team-best seven digs, while Luke Maloney tacked on two aces off the bench.

Jordan Varee set the pace with 22 kills and a .400 hitting percentage to lead his Saint Francis (Pa.) University squad to a 3-1 victory over host Springfield College in the consolation match of the Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic tonight at Springfield College’s Blake Arena.

Game scores were 30-17, 30-25, 28-30, 30-19. With the win, Saint Francis is now 7-4, while Springfield, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in Division III, is now 5-6.

Varee, a junior outside hitter from Conneautville, Pa., got the Red Flash off to a great start in game #1, a 30-17 win, with 7 kills and no errors in 13 attempts. In game #2, he added another 8 kills. After sitting out game #3, Varee came back to add another 7 kills in game #4. Others who were impressive for Saint Francis included junior outside hitter Nick Rivett (Pittsburgh, Pa.) with 9 kills and a team-high 14 digs. Junior middle hitter Pete Freyer (Orchard Park, N.Y.) hit .545 on 6 kills in 11 swings (with no errors). Senior setter Shane Conley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) hit .500 (4 kills in 8 swings), but more importantly had 45 set assists.

For Springfield, junior outside hitter AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) led his team with 17 kills and a team-high 14 digs. He also had 2 blocks. Freshman outside hitter Jeff Gutmann (Cheetowaga, N.Y.) came off the bench to contribute 10 kills and hit .214 to go along with 6 digs. Junior setter Eric Shoemaker (Mount Wolf, Pa.) finished with 49 set assists. Senior middle blocker Andy Sipe (New Oxford, Pa.) had 6 kills and 4 blocks for the Pride.

The excitement for the home team came in game #3, a 30-28 win. Nally had 6 of his 17 kills, and hit .750 in that game. Gutman had 6 kills, hitting .545 in that game

Overall, Saint Francis hit .250, while Springfield hit just .109 as a team.

All Tournament Team
AJ Nally – Springfield College
Jordan Varee – Saint Francis (Pa,)
Ben Nichols – George Mason
Kyle Gramit – George Mason
Eric Leserman – UC San Diego
Phil Bannan – UC San Diego
Will Ehrman – UC San Diego (MVP)

Sportsmanship Award
Nick Rivett – Saint Francis (Pa.)
Serving Contest Winner
Erik Sierks – UC San Diego
Spike Contest Winner
Lance Rogers – George Mason