By Mark Loiselle
After a tremendous 3-0 victory over Juniata College, the Springfield College men’s volleyball team (5-2) could not stop the bleeding early and fell short to Division I opponent Loyola University (7-5) 3-0 in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic Championship Saturday. The Ramblers captured their first-ever Morgan title.
“We saw a really good team,” head coach Charlie Sullivan stated. “A team that had a lot of power. It’s hard to guard every spot on the net when all those guys hit really hard and pass extremely well.”
Loyola, who has battled against elite Division I teams, found their groove on the floor, especially in outside hitter Joseph Smaltzer who finished with 15 kills and six digs.
“Diego (Rodriguez) out setter was great at getting the ball around to our middles and outside hitters,” Smaltzer said after the game. “The x factor was definitely my teammates opening up holes for me to hit the ball.”
Springfield has made a presence in the 2012-13 season, but on Saturday Sullivan’s club experienced adversity whether it was inconsistent passing or unforced errors. The Pride capped off the game with 13 service errors.
The conclusion of every set was neck and neck, but Springfield just couldn’t execute down the stretch.
In previous games the No. 3 capitalized on most opportunities, but Loyola would not let them have a bite for any breathing room with crushing hits and hard-nosed defensive positioning.
Despite the loss, Springfield received 12 kills from opposite hitter Alistair Matthews and 10 kills out of outside Mike Pelletier. The aftermath of the defeat does not have to mean back to the drawing board for Sullivan and company, but they will have reassure some of their ways going into the next few matches.
“We passed better and hit really well, we hit .500 in the first games and we haven’t hit .500 the whole season,” the 15-year head coach commented. “So if we are playing our best competition and having our best offensive performance that is significant somethings are going well. This week’s improvement will sky rocket due to what we see on the tape.”
The Pride will look to get the ball rolling once again at home against Rivier College (2-3) on February 8th at 7 p.m.