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Loyola Claims Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic In Sweep of Springfield

Photo Credit: Lane Pelletier

Springfield, Mass. – February 2, 2013 – The Loyola University men’s volleyball team captured its first-ever Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic on Saturday evening over host Springfield College in Blake Arena. The Ramblers prevailed 27-25, 25-23, 25-17.

Loyola improved to 7-2 on the year, while Springfield had its 21-match home-winning streak snapped as it dropped to 5-2. Springfield competed in the finals for the sixth time in the 26th year history of the Morgan Classic.

Joseph Smalzer was recognized as the Classic’s Most Outstanding Player after tallying 15 kills on a .360 hitting percentage to go along with six digs. Thomas Jaeschke added 10 kills and Diego Rodriguez handed out 38 helpers. Both Trevor Novotny and Nicholas Olson registered three blocks. The Ramblers finished the evening hitting .367.

Springfield’s Alistair Matthews notched a team-best 12 kills, and classmate Mike Pelletier racked up 10 kills and seven digs while hitting .444. Greg Falcone had eight kills on all eight of his swings as the Pride hit .361 in the loss.

Springfield was tremendous on the offensive side of the ball in the opening frame, pounding out 18 kills at a .500 clip. Matthews had his way with the Ramblers, producing eight kills to lead the way. Tied six times in the early going, Loyola would eventually own a 20-17 lead following a Novotny kill, which forced Springfield head coach Charlie Sullivan into his first timeout of the evening. The Pride would battle back to even things at 24-all following a monster block by Pelletier and Jimmy O’Leary. The two teams traded errors before a Smalzer kill and Springfield attack error gave the visitors the 27-25 win.

The second set featured 14 ties and five lead changes, despite Springfield hitting .500 once again in the frame. After a Falcone ace painted the back line to give the hosts a 18-16 lead, the Ramblers answered back with a 6-2 push, with kills from five different players. The Pride got as close at 24-23 on a Pelletier swing, however, Novotny closed out the frame with a big kill down the line to give the Ramblers a two-game cushion.

Springfield struggled to find its offensive rhythm in the third, hitting just .045 and Loyola used a block from Olson and Jaeschke to snag an early 10-6 advantage in the third. The lead grew to 17-11 on an overpass kill by Novotny and despite a timeout from Sullivan, the Pride could not regroup. Springfield made it a six-point game at 23-17, but kills from Jaeschke and Eric Daleige lifted the Ramblers to the title.

Harvard 3, Juniata 1
The Harvard University men’s volleyball captured the consolation match of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic on Saturday evening in Blake Arena. The Crimson were victorious by the scores of 25-16, 22-25, 25-17, 25-13.

Nick Madden led Harvard with 20 kills as his squad improved to 4-2 while Juniata dropped to 4-2 on the season.

Madden topped Harvard with 20 kills with 37 attempts swinging at a .351 percent, while teammate Branden Clemens was tremendous, produced 19 kills at a remarkable .630 clip. Libero Chris Gibbons led Harvard with 13 digs and Michael Owen added 12 kills and nine digs of his own. Rob Lothman of Harvard had 48 assists which was the match-high.

For Juniata College, Ross Madden led the team with 10 kills, eight digs, and four blocks. Alex McColgin added seven kills and Joe Bortak notched five kills and five blocks. Carlos Faccio had a team-high 16 assists off the bench.

As a team, Harvard hit .303, while the Eagles were limited to just a .075 clip.

All-Tournament Team
Branden Clemens, Harvard
Mark Feiler, Juniata
Alistair Matthews, Springfield
Greg Falcone, Springfield
Diego Rodriguez, Loyola
Peter Jasaitis, Loyola
Joseph Smalzer, Loyola – Most Outstanding Player

 Serving Contest Champion
Peter Jasaitis, Loyola

Spike Contest Champion
Ryan Baine, Loyola