Top-ranked Springfield cruises to win
Pride too much for No. 14 Vassar in nearly every aspect
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Springfield College used a balanced attack to cruise past No. 14 Vassar, 25-12, 25-15, 25-20 in non-conference action in Blake Arena on Tuesday.
Springfield, the top-ranked team in Division III, improves to 7-10 on the season and has now won four of its last five matches. Vassar, which entered the nationals polls this afternoon at No. 14, had its five-match winning streak stopped to fall to 14-8.
Eleven different members of the Pride recorded a kill in in the match as Springfield continued to be efficient on offense, hitting .405 for the match. The hosts were especially tough from behind the service line as it racked up a season-best 10 service aces. Cal Palumbo tallied a team-best seven kills while hitting .667, to go along with three aces and three blocks, while Nick Ferry led the Pride with eight digs in two games. Tommy Crow and Alberto Bravo each chipped in six kills, and Jeff Gutmann and Scott McMahan came off the bench to combine for 10 kills on 17-errorless attempts. Mike Becker delivered 19 assists and two aces, and Ryan Lilley distributed 11 assists and tacked on two blocks.
Evan Fredericksen registered seven of the Brewers 19 kills for the match, as the visitors were limited to just a .029 attack percentage. Lucas Rathjens added four kills and six digs, while John Konow handed out 19 assists in the loss.
The Pride started the match scoring the opening five points and had its lead balloon to 11-3 after Crow ripped one of his two aces on the night. The Pride didn't let up as its lead grew to as many as 13 on several occasions as it hit .417 for the frame. Palumbo had his way in the middle with four kills in the set.
A back-and-forth second game featured seven ties and four lead changes from the start. A Rathjens kill made it 10-all, only to have Springfield's block take control as the Pride scored the next four points to take a 14-10 lead. Palumbo combined for three consecutive blocks, one with Crow and another with Bravo, to go along with a solo stuff as Springfield snagged a lead it would not relinquish. Hitting .500 for the stanza, Crow posted four kills to lead the Pride attack.
After a complete overhaul of the lineup midway through the second, head coach Charlie Sullivan stuck with his reserves for the entire third set and they responded by completing the sweep. A Gutman kill gave the hosts a three-point cushion at 16-13, only to have Vassar put together a 3-1 burst to make it a 17-16 contest. Springfield then benefited from consecutive Brewer miscues as its lead crept back to three at 19-16. The Pride would go on to close out the match in fitting fashion with a double block from Lilley and James O'Leary. McMahan posted four kills in the set, while O'Leary controlled the net with three blocks for the hosts.