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Springfield Captures Its First-Ever Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic Title
Springfield, Mass. -- February 11, 2012 --
Springfield College, behind the exploits of MVP Angel Perez, defeated Lees-McRae College of North Carolina tonight to win its first ever Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic at Springfield College's Blake Arena. Springfield has been hosting this tournament, considered the premier in-season men's volleyball tournament on the East Coast, for 25 years.
Scores were 25-21, 25-15, 27-25 in favor of Springfield.
Springfield, ranked #2 in the Division III national poll, is now 8-4, while Lees-McRae falls to 4-4. Tonight marked only the fifth time in this tournament's history that SC had even reached the finals.
In the consolation match, the California Baptist University men's volleyball team defeated UC-Santa Cruz, 3-0. Set scores in the consolation match were 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 in favor of Cal Baptist.
Match #2 (Championship) -- Springfield 3, Lees-McRae 0 (25-21, 25-15, 27-25)
Angel Perez, an outside hitter from Naranjito, Puerto Rico, proved to be the catalyst this evening. The freshman led the Pride with 14 kills, and had only one error in 22 swings. He finished with an impressive .591 hitting percentage.
Perez, however, had plenty of help. Sophomore middle blocker Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) had five kills and hit .455. Junior opposite John Coen (Chicago, Ill.) had five kills in six swings and hit. 833. Junior outside hitter Mike Pelletier (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) also finished with seven kills and seven digs. Sophomore libero Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) led SC with 10 digs.
It was the first time Springfield had even been in the final of this tournament since 2007 when Ball State captured the crown with a 3-1 victory.
For the second straight night, sophomore outside hitter Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) led Lees-McRae with nine kills. Sophomore outside hitter Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.) followed with eight kills. And freshman middle blocker Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) had seven kills.
Certainly one of the main differences tonight for the Bobcats came in the team's hitting percentage. As a team, Lees-McRae hit .100 for the match. Springfield, meanwhile, hit .329.
Match #1 (Consolation) -- Cal Baptist 3, UC-Santa Cruz 0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-20)
The Lancers are now 3-9, while UC-Santa Cruz falls to 2-3. Santa Cruz is the #3-ranked team in Division III nationally.
Junior outside hitter Daniel Freitas (Torrance, Calif.) once again led the Lancers this evening with 13 kills. He also had a .320 hitting percentage, along with four digs and three blocks. Also having a sensational match was 6-11 junior middle blocker Kristopher Johnson (Long Beach, Calif.) with 12 kills and six blocks, as well as a .706 hitting percentage. He had no errors in 17 swings.
Freshman outside hitter Corey Bates (Melbourne, Australia) led his squad with seven digs, while sophomore setter Connor Metcalfe (Las Vegas, Nev.) had a team-high 43 set assists.
For the Banana Slugs, junior outside hitter Harley Frost (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) topped his team with 11 kills. Senior outside hitter Bruce Mayer (San Diego, Calif.) and sophomore middle blocker Will Klepac (Fremont, Calif.) each totaled eight kills. And 6-10 senior middle blocker Thomas Davidson (Sunnyvale, Calif.) had seven kills.
Junior libero Jory Hollander (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) had four digs, while sophomore setter Steven Crane (Saugus, Calif.) had 32 set assists.
Freitas had six kills in set #1 for the Lancers. Both Freitas and Johnson had eight kills each in set #3.
Overall, Cal Baptist had a solid .357 hitting percentage as a team. UC-Santa Cruz hit .231. Cal Baptist finished with 8.0 blocks as a team, while the Banana Slugs finished with 4.0 team blocks.
Thomas Davidson, UC Santa Cruz
Kristopher Johnson, Cal Baptist
Jose Ribas, Lees-McRae
Randy Ramirez, Lees-McRae
Nick Ferry, Springfield College
Mike Pelletier, Springfield College
Angel Perez, Springfield College, MVP
Serving Contest Champion
Jory Jolander, UC Santa Cruz
Spike Contest Champion
Michael Cate, Cal Baptist
Morgan Classic - Springfield/Lees-McRae Reach Final
Springfield, Mass. -- February 10, 2012 -- The Springfield College and Lees-McRae College men's volleyball teams tonight defeated their California opponents to reach the final of the 2012 Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic. It is only the fifth time in the 25 years of this tournament that Springfield has reach the final.
In the second match of the evening, Springfield used a great rally in game #2 as a springboard for a 3-1 victory over UC-Santa Cruz. Game scores were 25-18, 27-25, 17-25, 25-19. With the win, the Pride, ranked #2 nationally, now raises its record to 7-4, while the Banana Slugs, ranked #3 nationally, fall to 2-2.
It is also the first time in five years that Springfield has even reached the final. The last time that occurred was in 2007 when Ball State won the crown, 3-1, over SC.
Springfield will be attempting to win its first ever VB Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic tomorrow evening at 8 pm. Meanwhile, UC-Santa Cruz will take on Cal Baptist in the consolation match at 6 pm.
Match #1 -- Lees-McRae 3, Cal Baptist 1
Springfield, Mass. -- February 10, 2012 -- The Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team tonight defeated defending champion Cal Baptist University, 3-1, in match #1 of the Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic at Springfield College's Blake Arena. Jose Ribas led the Bobcats with 22 kills. Scores for Lees-McRae were 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 26-24
With the victory, Lees-McRae is now 4-3, while the Lancers of Cal Baptist fall to 2-9. It was the fourth straight loss for Cal Baptist on its week-long East Coast road trip.
Lees-McRae is a Presbyterian-affiliated college located in far western North Carolina very near the border of Tennessee. It is making is first trip to the Morgan Classic, now in its 25th year. Last year, Cal Baptist defeated the University of the Pacific (3-0) in the championship match to capture the Volleyball Hall of Fame/Morgan Classic.
Ribas, a 6-7 sophomore outside hitter from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, topped Lees-McRae with 22 kills in a match-high 47 swings for a .277 hitting percentage. Behind him were 6-4 sophomore outside hitter Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.) and 6-7 opposite John Lucas (Cincinnati, Oh.) with eight kills each. Freshman middle blocker Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) followed with seven kills.
Sophomore defensive specialist Efrain Negron (Orlando, Fla.) led his squad with 13 digs. Randy Ramirez, a 6-3 sophomore setter from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, had a match-high 46 set assists.
For Cal Baptist of Riverside, Calif., 6-6 freshman outside hitter Corey Bates (Melbourne, Australia) led his team with 12 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Daniel Freitas, a 6-5 junior outside hitter from Torrance, Calif., was next with nine kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Daniel Casper, a 5-10 freshman libero from Menomine, Wisc., topped the Lancers with nine digs.
Sophomore setter Connor Metcalfe (Las Vegas, Nev.) had 32 set assists for Cal Baptist.
Despite hitting just .152 as a team, Lees-McRae came up the victor. Cal Baptist hit .171.
Ribas had six kills in game #1, while Lucas followed with four for Lees-McRae. Bates had five kills in game #2 for Cal Baptist.
In game #3, it was Ribas again leading with five kills for the Bobcats. And Ribas ended with a flourish, delivering eight kills to wrap it up in game #4.
Match #2 -- Springfield 3, UC-Santa Cruz 1
In match #2, featuring two of the top three ranked teams in the nation in Division III, the homestanding Pride edged the Banana Slugs of UC-Santa Cruz, 3-1. Game scores were 25-18, 27-25, 17-25, 25-19.
SC is now 7-4 overall, while UC-Santa Cruz levels its record at 2-2.
Springfield relied on a variety of heroes, including three players with double-figure totals in kills. That included freshman outside hitter Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) with 15 kills, and junior outside hitter Mike Pelletier (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) and sophomore middle blocker Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.)with 11 kills apiece.
For UC-Santa Cruz, junior outside hitter Mauro Salinas (San Leandro, Calif.) led with 12 kills and a .310 hitting percentage. He was followed by 6-10 senior middle blocker Thomas Davidson (Sunnyvale, Calif.) with 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Davidson committed just two errors in 18 swings.
Springfield wound up hitting .227 as a team in this match, while UC-Santa Cruz hit .178.
The Pride had control of the first game throughout, hitting .206, while the Banana Slugs could hit only at an .069 clip.
It was game number #2 that proved to be key. SC trailed 23-17 and 24-21, before rallying to tie at 24-all. UC-Santa Cruz then took a 25-24 lead, only to see SC score the last three points to win that game.
The Banana Slugs took quick command of game #3, and never let up.
It was just the opposite in game #4, as SC took a quick 6-1 edge, forcing the Californians to call a timeout. The Pride managed to maintain control for the remainder of the contest to win it.
Freshman setter Keaton Pieper (Ketering, Oh.) had 44 set assists for SC. Pelletier led the Pride with 12 digs.
For UC-Santa Cruz, senior setter Paul Leon (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) led with 39 set assists. Senior opposite Shane Yablonka (Orange, Calif.) led all players in this match with 13 digs.
Holyoke, Mass. -- January 9, 2012 --
Winter heats up fast in New England when the Volleyball Hall of Fame hosts the sizzling play of top collegiate men’s teams. The Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic will be held at Springfield College on Friday and Saturday February 10 & 11 and is guaranteed to bring you the best of big-time volleyball. This year's event will feature defending tournament champion Cal Baptist; UC Santa Cruz; Lees-McRae; and six-time Div. III national champion Springfield College.
The opening night matches at Blake Arena have Cal Baptist facing Lees-McRae at 6:00 p.m. and Springfield battling UC Santa Cruz at 8:00 pm. Saturday features the consolation and championship matches at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. respectively.
"This tournament always feature some of the best men's collegiate volleyball you can see on the East coast as we bring in top talent from across the country," says Hall of Fame Executive Director George Mulry. “Since 2003, the Morgan Classic has featured ten NCAA Div I Champions or Runners-up right in our own backyard. It is a great family night out, especially for those new to volleyball."
Tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 for youth and students.
Once again, the Morgan Classic Players & Coaches Clinics will be offered at Springfield College on Saturday, Feb. 11. This unique format allows attendees the opportunity to interact and learn skills from the players and coaches of the tournament teams. In addition, the Coaches Clinic features educational sessions presented by each coach of the tournament teams along with Springfield College’s Joel Dearing and Moira Long. The fee for each clinic is $60 per person and includes one ticket to Saturday evening's matches and a souvenir t-shirt.