SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – In the regular-season finale for both squads, nationally-ranked No. 1 Springfield College defeated No. 13 MIT, 25-19, 25-22, 25-17, in men's volleyball action on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers (24-12) and the Pride (29-3) await their postseason fate for earning one of three an at-large bids to the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship which will be hosted at MIT from April 26-28. The national selection show announcing the nine-team field will air on www.ncaa.com on Sunday, April 14 at 8:30 p.m.
With the first set tied at 10, Springfield surged ahead on the strength of a 5-1 run. An exchange of points ensued before an ace by senior Matt Hohenberger (St. Louis, Mo.) and a kill from sophomore Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) narrowed the gap to three (19-16) for the Engineers. The Pride replied by scoring six of the next nine points to win the set.
MIT jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second stanza courtesy of strong serving by junior Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.). Springfield knotted the frame at 10 but the Engineers but together a 5-2 spurt to gain some breathing room. The Pride responded with a 9-2 run (19-17) which resulted in a timeout by the visitors. Following the break, a kill from MIT junior Ken Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) led to an exchange of sideouts until a strike by sophomore Chris Omahan (Mount Vernon, Ohio) brought the Engineers within one (22-21). Springfield picked up the next two points but a hitting error kept MIT alive. The Engineers' attempt at extending the set was thwarted when the hosts registered a kill to clinch the frame.
The final set was a back-and-forth affair as it featured 12 ties and five lead changes. With the score tied at 14, a Springfield block ignited a match-ending 11-3 run.
Hohenberger paced MIT with 11 kills and earned its only ace of the day. Siebert recorded eight digs and seven kills while sophomore Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) posted seven kills and a .500 hitting performance. Klein notched six kills, followed by five from senior Patrick Vatterott (St. Louis, Mo.), and four from Omahan. Syta dished out 35 assists as freshman Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) collected 10 digs.