SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Feb. 22, 2008- In front of a raucous 1,200 fans dressed in a sea of white, the Springfield College men's volleyball team fell to the visiting University of Southern California Trojans in three games in the second match of the 21st Annual Volleyball Hall of Fame/ Morgan Classic on Friday evening at Blake Arena.
The Pride fell by the scores of 30-24, 30-22, 30-18.
The Pride will play at 6:00 pm on Saturday evening and will square off against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). The Mastodons fell in a thrilling five-game match to George Mason in the opening match of the Classic. Game scores from a George Mason point of view were 24-30, 22-30, 30-22, 30-28, 15-13. It was 11-all in game #5. Thus, USC will take on the Patriots of George Mason for the Classic title at 8:00 pm on Saturday.
The atmosphere was electric in Blake Arena as the Pride hung with the eighth-ranked team in Division I in the opening game. With the score knotted at 19, the Trojans closed out the game on an 11-5 run to take the opening game, 30-24. Springfield got within two, 26-24, after a block from Cal Palumbo (Rochester, N.Y.) and Ryan Fredrickson (Surf City, N.J.) brought the crowd to a frenzy. USC, which hammered out 21 kills in the opening frame compared to just five for the Pride, was daunted by service errors, committing nine in the first game.
A kill from Andy Sipe (New Oxford, Pa.) brought the Pride within one, 5-4, early in the second game. From there, The Trojans went on a 10-1 run, capped off by a Juan Figueroa ace to force an SC timeout. Springfield would get no closer than six the rest of the way as the visitors took a two game lead, 30-22.
The Pride had trouble building any momentum as USC used a quick start once again to gain control in game three. The Trojans raced out to a 10-3 lead and never looked back in the game. Springfield, which hit just -.111 in the third and final frame, went on a 6-0 run towards the end of the game to make it closer.
Fredrickson finished with a team-best four kills and the Pride managed to hit .028 in the entire match. Cal Palumbo added five blocks and a pair of kills, while Dave Smietana (Buffalo, N.Y.) came off the bench to hammer out three kills for the Pride.
Figueroa and Troy each recorded 14 kills in the win, while C.J. Schellenberg added 12 kills for the Trojans. Jimmy Killian dished out 44 assists and teammate Luke Morris registered a game-high 17 digs. Austin Zahn added six blocks and five kills in the win. USC finished with 23 service errors in the match.