CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – January 19, 2008 - In a battle of nationally-ranked New England men’s volleyball teams, No. 1 Springfield College defeated No. 8 MIT, 30-27, 27-30, 30-26, 30-25, in a non-conference match on Saturday night. With the loss, the Engineers’ ledger moved to 1-1 on the year while the Pride was victorious in its season-opener.
The opening game was a back-and-forth affair as it featured 11 ties. Springfield ended the trend when it went on a 9-3 run which resulted in a 25-19 lead. MIT slowly chipped away at the deficit, denying the Pride game point with a hit from Praveen Pamidimukkala. Springfield thwarted any attempts for a late rally as it picked up the win on the ensuing serve.
The Pride quickly established a 12-8 cushion in the second stanza, which was erased by a four-point spurt from the Engineers that featured three consecutive kills from Pamidimukkala. After trading points, Springfield regained its four-point lead (18-14). MIT continued to attack, as it came within one (19-18) and prompted a timeout by the Pride. Springfield captured the ensuing point and maintained a two-point edge as late as 24-22. The Engineers tallied five unanswered points for their first lead of the game. Each side exchanged points to close out the frame with Malcolm Bean recording the game-winning strike for MIT.
In the third game, the Pride crept out to a 16-11 advantage, but the Engineers countered with four straight points. Following its own timeout, Springfield notched the next point with a block. MIT stayed within striking distance as it trailed by one (20-19), before the Pride gained some breathing room with a four-point spurt of its own. The Engineers eventually cut their deficit in half (27-25), but they could not sustain the late rally as Springfield registered three out of the last four points to take the game.
Early in the final frame, a kill by Michael Demyttenaere narrowed the gap for MIT to one (7-6). The Pride responded with a 17-9 run which resulted in its largest lead of the night (24-15). After their own timeout, the Engineers responded with an 8-2 rally that narrowed the gap to three (26-23) and forced a timeout by Springfield. Following the break, the Pride recorded three straight points. However, the Engineers’ deficit decreased due to a service error. Demyttenaere’s hit extended the evening for MIT, but a serving miscue sealed the match for the visitors.
Mark Ribeiro (New York, N.Y.) compiled 17 kills and six digs, as AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) contributed 14 kills and seven digs. Cal Palumbo (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded eight kills while Eric Shoemaker (Mount Wolf, Pa.) and Chris Shekell (Rochester, N.Y.) combined for 52 assists.
Both squads will continue play on the road next week. MIT will resume NECVA New England Division play when it visits Emmanuel College on Tuesday, Jan. 22 while Springfield will travel to George Mason University on Monday, Jan. 21.