DIII No. 5 Springield Topples No. 3 Juniata in Five Games


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Springfield, Mass. - Eric Palumbo (Chili, N.Y.) pounded out a team-best 18 kills to lead the fifth-ranked Springfield College men's volleyball team to a 3-2 victory over rival No. 3 Juniata on Friday evening in Dana Gymnasium.

Springfield won by the scores of 30-26, 30-25, 26-30, 27-30, 15-12.

The Pride move to 16-6 on the season while the Eagles drop to 8-11. The win avenges the Pride's four-game loss to the Eagles two weeks ago.The win also marked the first time since January 30, 2000 that Springfield defeated the rival Eagles at home.

In the opening game, Springfield opened up a 15-11 lead after back-to-back attack errors from the visitors. Juniata battled back, taking a 19-18 lead after a block by Matt Fritz and Evan Halteman. Springfield's defense down the stretch of the opening game proved to be the difference as a triple block from Cal Palumbo (Rochester, N.Y.), Chris Shekell (Rochester, N.Y.), and Palumbo preceded a solo block from Shekell to increase the Pride's lead to 28-23. Springfield went on to take the opening game, 30-26, after an Eagle attack error closed out the first stanza. Ryan Fredrickson (Surf City, N.J.) led the way with seven kills in the first game, while the Pride held Juniata to a -.067 hitting percentage.

Springfield never trailed in the second game as it went on to take a 30-25 decision. An Eagle attack error gave the Pride its largest lead of the game, 18-13. Once again though, Juniata battled back, cutting the lead to two, 22-20, after a Pride attack error. Springfield closed out the game on an 8-5 run, sparked by a pair of kills from Cal Palumbo, en route to a two-game advantage.

The Pride came out strong in the third, opening up a 16-12 lead, after a Fredrickson ace forced a Juniata timeout. Out of the timeout, the Eagles rattled off eight of the game's next 12 points, fueled by a trio of kills from Zach Wanner, to force Charlie Sullivan to call timeout. A kill from Cal Palumbo out of the timeout gave Springfield its final lead of the game, 21-20. Back-to-back kills from Matt Fritz gave Juniata the 30-26 game-three victory.

In a back-and-forth fourth game, Springfield grabbed the game's largest lead at 23-19, following a Juniata attack error. After an Eagle timeout, a Fritz kill capped off a 9-2 Juniata run as it claimed a 28-25 advantage. The Pride cut the lead to two, 29-27, after a Cal Palumbo kill, but couldn't rally as the match was headed to a fifth game.

The Pride took an 8-6 lead as it change sides of the court after a Juniata service error, only to see its lead disappear after an attack error by Javier Rosario (San Juan, Puerto Rico) gave the Eagles a 10-9 advantage. After calling timeout, Springfield erupted on a 5-1 run as the Eagles had three attack errors and a service errors. Fredrickson gave the Pride the five-game victory as he recorded his 16th kill of the match.

For the Pride, Eric Palumbo had 18 kills, six digs, and three blocks, while Fredrickson added 16 kills, three aces, and three blocks as well. Shekell directed the offense with 54 assists to go along with six digs. Brandon Waas (Spencerport, N.Y.) registered a match-high 14 digs on the defensive side of the ball. Cal Palumbo added nine kills and fellow middle blocker Andy Sipe (New Oxford, Pa.) chipped in with eight kills. Rosario notched nine kills off the bench for Sullivan's squad.

Fritz and teammate Zach Wanner registered a game-high 22 kills each, while Dan Powers added 10 kills. Matt Werle dished out 57 assists for the Eagles as well.

Springfield returns to action on Tuesday when it plays host to Rutgers-Newark at 7:00 pm

Article courtesy of Springfield athletics.

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