Springfield, Mass. - February 21, 2014 - Springfield College and Concordia Irvine advanced to the championship game of the 27th Annual Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic in Blake Arena on Friday night. The host Pride knocked off UC Santa Cruz in four sets, while Concordia swept Princeton in the first semifinal.
Concordia Irvine 3, Princeton 0
Springfield, Mass. – February 21, 2014 – Aided by 11 kills from senior opposite hitter Harrison Carroll (Huntington Beach, Calif.), the Concordia University Eagles swept the Princeton University Tigers 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-23) on Friday evening at Blake Arena in the first match of the 27th Annual Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, hosted at Springfield College.
Concordia won by the scores of 25-23, 25-18, 25-23.
For the Tigers, who now stand at 1-6 following the loss, junior outside hitter Cody Kessel (Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted an incredible 26 kills on 38 attempts, hitting at a .553 clip. Senior setter Davis Wadell (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) tallied 24 assists on the day, while freshman setter Chris Kennedy (Playa Del Rey, Calif.) registered 14.
Complementing Carroll’s 11 kills, classmate and middle blocker Mark Metrakos (Irvine, Calif.) posted 9 kills on 12 attempts, hitting .750 on the night, while senior outside hitter Naseri Tumanuvao (Long Beach, Calif.) tallied 8 kills and three digs in the victory. The Eagles’ senior setter Kevin Fiske (Santa Ana, Calif.) posted 32 assists while senior libero Christopher Reames (Laguna Beach, Calif.) registered five digs on the night. With the win, Concordia improves to 13-3 overall on the season.
Springfield 3, UC Santa Cruz 1
Springfield, Mass - February 21, 2014 - Led by senior Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.), the Springfield College men's volleyball team picked up a critical four-set win over UC Santa Cruz in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic on Friday night. Set scores in the match were 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 25-21.
In a matchup of two of the top independent programs in Division III, tonight's result could prove to weight heavy when the field is selected for the NCAA Division III Championship this upcoming April. The Pride improve to 12-6 in the win, while the Banana Slugs even their record to 7-7.
It also marked the fifth-straight year that Springfield has won a match in the Classic, which is regarded as the premier men's collegiate tournament on the East Coast.
Malone had the best match of his career tonight as he produced 17 kills at a .444 clip to go along with nine digs, four aces, and three blocks. Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) added 12 kills, and Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) registered a match-high 11 digs. Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) notched seven blocks and Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) dished out 47 helpers.
Santa Cruz was paced by Jake Landel (Long Beach, Calif.), who tallied 13 kills in the loss. Blake Chadwick (San Diego, Calif.) dished out 38 assists, and Harley Frost (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) chipped in eight kills.
Springfield got things started on the right foot, jumping out to a 12-7 lead following a Santa Cruz hitting error. The visitors answered with a 7-2 push to take their first lead of the game at 14-13, only to have Perez side out to even things at 14. A monster solo block from Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) and an ace from Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) gave the Pride a 19-16 advantage heading into the late stages of the first set. After exchanging points, a Malone kill from the back row gave the Pride a 21-18 lead and O’Leary later registered a kill to seal the first set for the Pride, 25-22.
Behind the tremendous serving from Malone, the Pride raced out to an 8-2 start thanks to a pair of aces from the senior. Springfield, which hit .417 in the frame, continued to keep up the pressure, using a Perez kill to take a 18-9 lead. With the score at 22-14 Pride, Malone delivered another one of his four kills in the second set to give Springfield a 23-14 advantage. Sean Peterson (Norfolk, Va.) combined with Malone for a block as Springfield closed out the set, 25-15.
Down 10-5 early in the third set, Springfield managed to grind itself back into the contest, as a big swing from Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) brought the hosts within 17-16. UC Santa Cruz answered right back as kills from Thomas Hassenbein (Moorpark, Calif.) and Jorges Reyes (Chula Vista, Calif.) gave the visitors a 19-16 advantage. Down 24-21 late in the third set, a Santa Cruz service error and kill from Perez forced the Banana Slugs into a timeout. However, an ensuing Springfield service ace gave Santa Cruz the 25-23 win.
Santa Cruz carried that momentum into the fourth, using a back-to-back Hassenbein blocks to earn a 6-2 lead. Springfield did not back down and eventually regained a 13-12 lead following consecutive O'Leary aces. The lead grew to 17-13 on another Malone kill, and would later balloon to five on a Vega and O'Leary block. The visitors got within 23-20, but Malone sealed the deal on the four-set win with a thunderous swing from the pin to finish off the match.