SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- April 4, 2008 - Trailing two games to none, the fourth-ranked Springfield College men’ volleyball team valiantly rallied past No. 2 NYU in five games on Friday evening in front of a raucous crowd.
With the win, the Pride capture the EIVA Hay Conference crown and improve to 18-6, 9-1 in league play. The Violets six-match winning streak was snapped as they fell to 20-7, 7-2.
The Pride captured the match by the scores 24-30, 27-30, 30-28, 30-21, 15-13.
In the decisive fifth game, Springfield trailed 9-4 after a NYU block by Jon Wintermeyer and Devin Zolnowski. Sparked by kills from Javier Rosario (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Andy Sipe (New Oxford, Pa.) and Ryan Fredrickson (Cedar Run, N.J.), the Pride rattled off six of the games next seven points to tie the game at 10. The teams would trade the next six points as AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) tied the game at 13 after a kill. The Pride’s defense stood tall as Sipe and Eric Shoemaker (Mount Wolf, Pa.) came up with a monster block to give SC match point, and Nally didn’t disappoint as his solo block on Eric Chakeen gave the Pride the five-game win.
The Pride struggled to get anything going offensively through the first two games as it managed to hit just .077 and rack up 21 total kills, compared to the Violets 36.
In the start of the third game, head coach Charlie Sullivan subbed in Rosario, Shoemaker, and Nally into the starting rotation. The Pride responded effectively as it led by as many as five in the game, and hit .281 in the stanza. SC finished out the game off a kill from Fredrickson to bring them within one game of the Violets.
In the fourth game, Springfield came out fired up and jumped all over the Violets, opening up a 7-1 lead in the early stages of the game. Sipe had a pair of kills in the opening run for SC, as it hit a blistering .483 on 19 kills and just five errors on 29 attempts. The Violets got within three at 20-17 after a Zolnowski kill, but SC closed out the game on a 10-4 run to knot the match at two games apiece.
Nally powered the Pride, especially in the fifth game, as he recorded 19 kills, hitting .341 to go along with nine digs and three blocks. Fredrickson added 19 kills and five blocks as well as the duo were the only members of the squad to record double digit kills. Sipe added six kills and six blocks, while Cal Palumbo (Hilton, N.Y.) chipped in with five blocks and six kills. Brandon Waas (Rochester, N.Y.) notched a match-high 12 digs. Shoemaker handed out 36 assists in the win.
Five Violets registered double-digit kills with Zolnowski leading the way with 20. Wintermeyer added 18, while Chakeen recorded 12 kills. Willy McFarland and Francis Hodgson each hammered out 11 kills in the loss.
The Pride will return to action next Friday night when it plays host to the 2008 Molten Division III Men’s Invitational Volleyball Championship which serves as the National Championship in Division III.