January 24, 2012

Springfield Outlasts Sacred Heart in Five Set Showdown

Springfield, MA – Freshman John Lutjen (Smithtown, NY) supplied 49 assists but the Pioneer men's volleyball team dropped a tough 3-2 decision on the road to Springfield College Tuesday night.  Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) led the Sacred Heart attack for the third straight match, posting 21 kills.  Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) had his best performance of 2012, ripping 18 kills against the Pride defense.

Springfield (1-3) opened up a 9-3 advantage in the first set and forced the Pioneers to call an early timeout.  SHU would come storming back and level the score line at 10-10 following a block from Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands).  Mackenze was the Pioneers most efficient attacker, putting up 15 kills along with a .400 hitting percentage.  The sophomore also led the SHU defense with nine digs.  However, the Pride would go on an 8-2 spurt to build a cushion and cruise to an opening set victory, 25-20.

Sacred Heart (0-3) caught fire in the second set, recording 19 kills and a .500 hitting percentage.  The Pioneers took back-to-back points on kills from Jason Kinney (Salem, NH) and Hunt to earn a 18-15 edge.  Kinney also scorched four aces at the service line.  Springfield was able to save a pair of set points until a kill from Borsay gave SHU the set, 25-22, and leveled the match, 1-1.

The Pride led from wire-to-wire in the third frame as the home team jumped out to a 7-3 edge.  SHU would get to within at 9-8 on a Mackenzie kill but Springfield controlled the set from there, going up, 21-15.  A Pioneer service error gave the Pride the third set, 25-21.  Tyler Tanaka was tops on the Springfield roster with 10 kills while Mike Becker dished out 38 assists for the home team.

 The two sides battled even through the opening stages of the fourth set.  Sacred Heart would make the first move and take a 15-11 lead with a 5-1 run that included three kills from Mackenzie.  Springfield closed to within two points on three different occasions but were turned away by the Pioneers each time.  SHU rattled off three straight points, the final on a Komlanc kill to secure a 22-17 advantage that would turn into a 25-20 set victory for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers fought back from a 6-3 deficit in the fifth and deciding set and eventually grabbed a 10-9 edge with a block from Lutjen and Komlanc.  However, the Pride would win the next three points and SHU would be unable to recover.  Sacred Heart saved one match point with a Borsay kill but Springfield took the final set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2, on the strength of a block from Jimmy O'Leary and John Coen.

The Sacred Heart men's volleyball team looks for its first win of 2012 this weekend as the take on both Medaille and Baruch.