No. 2 Springfield earns victory
Pride’s O’Leary plays efficiently with 11 kills on 14 swings
BOSTON -- No. 13 Emmanuel dropped its opening match to No. 2 Springfield 3-0 on Wednesday night. The Pride improved to 3-4 overall with the win (26-24, 25-14, 25-22).
The first set was evenly matched with the two clubs battling to an 8-8 start in the early going. A kill from the middle and a solo block by Tom McCaffrey gave the Saints a two-point edge at 10-8.
After a Pride timeout, Ashanti Jackson served off an ace, which put the hosts up three. Consecutive kills from Springfield's Greg Falcone kept it close at 13-12, Saints.
A big swing from the left side by Jackson broke another tie at 16-all. McCaffrey combined with Zach Whitermore for a block that gave the Saints a 20-17 advantage. Springfield rattled off three-consecutive points, before a Whitermore kill brought the spread to 21-20 in favor of Emmanuel.
A kill from Mike Pelletier tied the score at 22-all, before Whitermore put another one down for the Saints. Pelletier then slammed one off the Emmanuel block to put Springfield out in front 24-23 and forced a Saints' timeout.
Out of the break, Springfield served it long to knot the set at 24-all. A huge kill from Jimmy O'Leary gave the Pride set point. Then Mike Freytag and Evan Acanfora combined for a block, which gave Springfield the 26-24 set one win.
The Pride then carried the momentum into set two, powering out to a 15-7 advantage after a monster kill by O'Leary. Falcone found the floor at 19-10. Consecutive Emmanuel service errors, followed by a long hit from Emmanuel's left side gave Springfield set two, 25-14.
A kill from Jackson and a block by Nick Updike opened set three for the Saints. Springfield signaled for its first timeout after an Emmanuel ace from Alex McKeen put the Saints up, 6-2. The Pride then rattled off four-consecutive points, including two solo blocks from Falcone to knot the score at 6-6.
Springfield built a four-point lead, before Pride service errors allowed Emmanuel back in the set. A short ace from Ryan Kessler brought it to a 13-13 tie and forced a timeout by the Pride.
A huge McCaffrey block forged another tie at 15-all. A kill and an ace from Pelletier pushed it to 17-15, Pride. The two teams exchanged points with a Jackson kill and a Pride hitting error cutting the Saints' deficit to 22-21.
Alistair Matthews put one off the Emmanuel block and Jackson found the floor for the Saints, bringing the score to 23-22, Springfield. A kill from the middle by O'Leary forced an EC timeout with the Pride at match point, 24-22. Acanfora won it on a back-row swing and gave the Pride a 25-22 set three win and a 3-0 match win.
O'Learly led the Pride offense with 11 kills, coming off of 14 swings. Pelletier added nine kills and five digs. Nick Ferry led the Pride defense with eight digs, while Keaton Pieper dished out 32 assists in the win.
Jackson led the Saints in his collegiate debut with 12 kills and two aces, while Whitermore finished with seven kills. Updike handed out 26 assists and Ben Mathews picked up six digs in the effort for the Saints.