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Sipe Powers No. 1 Men’s Volleyball Past No. 8 Vassar, 3-1

Springfield, Mass. – March 10, 2009 – Senior Andy Sipe tallied 13 kills, hitting .579, and posted 13 blocks as the Springfield College men’s volleyball team defeated Vassar in four games on Tuesday evening in Blake Arena. With the win, the Pride improve to 11-6 on the season, while the Brewers fall to 16-5.

In a rematch of last season’s Molten National Championship match, Springfield won by the game scores of 29-31, 30-22, 30-20, 30-25 for its sixth-straight victory. Both teams entered the match ranked in the top10 nationally in the latest Bison/AVCA Division III Men’sĀ Coaches Top 15 Poll, with the Pride ranked No. 1 and the Brewers No. 8.

The first game started off back and forth as Evin Giglio tallied a kill to make it a 10-all game. The Brewers then rattled off three-straight points, capped off by a double block from John Kessenich and Steve Micucci, forcing the Pride to call a timeout. The visitors continued to pour on the pressure, opening up a seven-point lead at 23-16 after a Brian Bacchi service ace. Springfield stormed back, using a 13-6 run to tie the game at 29-all. The Pride committed a service error on the following play to give the visitors game point, and Kessenich and Miccuci teammed up again for a block as Vassar took the opening frame, 31-29.

With the score tied at four in the second stanza, the Pride rattled off the next four points as Sipe tallied a kill and teammed up with Eric Shoemaker and Mark Ribeiro for a pair of blocks to take an 8-4 lead. Springfield used a Pete Manguiat ace to increase its lead to seven at 16-9 as the Pride’s pressure kept the Brewers out of system and off balance. Springfield led by as many as eight in the frame and closed out the game on a Sipe kill to even the match at one game apiece. Vassar hit -.026 in the game as it was held to just nine kills, compared to Springfield’s 16.

A three-point spurt after being knotted at seven gave Springfield a 10-7 lead in the third game that it would not relinquish. Hitting .371 in the stanza, the Pride cruised to a 30-20 decision as Sipe connected for four kills and added a pair of blocks for the home squad.

In the fourth, a Pride attack error brought Vassar within one, 12-11 as neither team could gain more than a three-point advantage in the start. The Pride then captured the next three points as Cal Palumbo and Manguiat sandwiched kills bewteen a Vassar attack error, forcing a Brewer timeout. Sipe’s block was the difference down the stretch as he recorded six blocks in the frame to shut the door on the Brewers. SC capped off the match with a kill from Jeff Gutmann as it won the final frame, 30-25.

Sipe was tremendous as he nearly recorded a triple double with 13 kills, 13 blocks, and seven digs. Ribeiro registered a team-best 16 kills to go along with 13 digs and six blocks as he was one of four members of the Pride to record double doubles. Ryan Fredrickson posted 15 kills, hitting .303, to go along with 11 digs, while Palumbo hammered home 13 kills and added five blocks. Eric Shoemaker directed the Pride attack with 57 assists as Springfield tallied 69 kills in four games, hitting .300 for the match. Shoemaker also recorded 11 digs, five blocks, and three aces. Brandon Waas tallied a team-best 14 digs as SC’s libero, as Springfield held a plus-15 advantage in digs (65-50) and recorded 19 team blocks to Vassar’s 7.5. Springfield’s middle blocker duo of Sipe and Palumbo were simply dominant, combining for 26 kills and 18 blocks while hitting .512 for the match.

Phil Tully led the way for the visitors with a match-high 18 kills to go along with 14 digs. Evan Fredericksen was the only other member of the Brewers with double-digit kills as he posted 13 kills in the loss. Kessenich tacked on seven kills and three blocks to his 47 assists in the match. Scott Leserman had a match-high 16 digs as well for the visitors.

Springfield returns to action when it hosts Quincy in a non-conference matchup on Thursday evening at 7:00 pm.