After gaining a 3-0 commanding victory over Emmanuel College, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team (8-3) was back on the grind facing nationally-ranked competitors No. 7 New Paltz (10-4), No. 14 Medaille College (5-6) and rival No. 6 Juniata College (11-3) in the Juniata Invitational.
The Huntingdon, Pa. tournament kicked off on Friday with another battle featuring Juniata and Springfield. The Pride, who captured a dominating 3-0 victory over Juniata at the Morgan Classic Tournament, hit a bump in the road this time around, losing 3-2 against the Eagles.
This highly contested battle went to the full five sets. SC found themselves up two games to one, but ultimately let the lead slip away in sets four and five. Four-year starter Mike Pelletier finished with an astounding 24 kills and six digs.
“Against Juniata we had a lot of unforced errors that really killed a lot of our momentum at times,” Pelletier said.
Springfield changed its course by being more assertive, clashing with New Paltz. Pelletier, Charlie Sullivan’s leading striker, brought on a tremendous second-consecutive performance against the Hawks, tallying for 18 kills and four digs. Four-year middle blocker Greg Falcone tallied for six kills, four blocks and two aces, while setter Mike Becker chipped in 39 assists.
“New Paltz was tough early the next morning, and getting beat in the first set kind of woke us up for the rest of the match,” Pelletier added.
Springfield, as they have proven in the past, overcame adversity by finishing immensely strong against Medaille College with a gritty five set victory to close out the event. Pelletier, who had another outstanding performance – 25 kills along with four blocks – stuck with his guns on the outside, but he felt Sullivan’s bench deserved credit where it was due.
“We were successful against Medaille because of (John) Coen, (Mike) Freytag, and (Ryan) Lilley,” the four-year outside hitter commented. “They came into the third game and turned the whole match around.”
Senior opposite hitter Coen contributed 14 kills with an impressive .524 hitting clip, Freytag added four kills and three blocks, and junior libero Lilley chipped in two digs in the victory.
Springfield will look to build upon their two game momentum against Elms College in Blake Arena on Friday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.