Springfield, Mass. - April 3, 2010 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team punched its ticket to the 2010 Molten Division III Invitational National Championship on Saturday afternoon as it defeated NYU in three games, clinching the EIVA berth for the upcoming national championship.
The Pride cruised past the Violets by the game scores of 30-20, 30-22, 30-19. SC now stands at 16-8, while the Violets drop to 4-17.
Springfield will now represent the EIVA in the 2010 Molten Division III Invitational National Championship which will take place April 16-17 at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisc. Springfield last won the national championship in 2008 as the host as they swept Vassar in the championship game in Blake Arena.
AJ Nally continued his outstanding play as he totaled a match-high 16 kills, hitting .652, to go along with seven digs. Alberto Bravo posted 11 kills, hitting .429, and added eight digs and three blocks. The Pride's block was strong all afternoon as it totaled 13.5 team blocks, including 21 block assists. Cal Palumbo registered seven blocks, while Greg Falcone added six stuffs. Eric Shoemaker handed out 35 assists in the three game win and tacked on five blocks of his own.
For the visitors, Francis Hodgson registered 11 kills at a .556 clip as the only member of the Violets to record double-digit kills. Pattrick Dodd added eight kills and both Taylor Donovan and Luke Hamlet were credited with five kills. Ori Oren delivered 23 assists in two games.
For the match, NYU hit just .061 and had trouble from the service line, committing 19 service errors in three games.
Springfield found themselves down early in the opener, trailing 7-4 after an Mike Pelletier attack error. However, Pelletier made up for it as he spearheaded a 7-2 run from the service line, recording a pair of aces, as the Pride took a 11-9 lead. After Michael Ferragonio tallied a kill to get the Violets within one, the Pride reeled off the game's next five points to take control of the set. Springfield would go on to lead by as much as 10 on three occasions, the last coming on the final point of the set after a Shoemaker kill.
A Hodgson kill brought NYU one at 15-14 in the second game, only to have Springfield score the next four points to once again seize the momentum. The Pride used double block from Falcone and Bravo forced an NYU timeout at 18-14 and a Nally kill provided the hosts with a five-point cushion. NYU would get no closer than five as Springfield won the second set, 30-22, and was one game away from a trip to the Molten's.
The Pride roared out of the gate to take a 12-6 lead to start the third and final game. Getting four kills from Bravo and three blocks from Falcone in the stanza, Springfield cruised to a 30-19 victory as Nally pounded home a back-row kill to complete the match.
Springfield cannot rest on its laurels as it prepares for a critical conference match on Tuesday evening when it hosts St. Francis in its final conference game of the season. With seeding in the upcoming EIVA Division I Tournament on the line, the Pride and Red Flash will square off at 7:00 pm.