BEVERLY, Mass. – For the second time this season, the Endicott men’s volleyball team squared off with the \#2 ranked team in NCAA Division III, the Springfield Pride, and the Gulls lost in straight sets to drop their 2012 record to 9-7 overall. Springfield took the sets 25-15, 25-18, 25-18.
Endicott, who is still undefeated in NECC play at 7-0, travels to Florida at the end of next week to compete in four out-of-region matches against Warner Southern, Ramapo, Johnson & Wales Denver, and Stevens Tech before returning to their league schedule.
Springfield (16-5), winners of 14 of their last 15 matches, has a two-week layover before hosting the Springfield Invitational on March 23rd-24th.
Pride sophomore middle Jimmy O’Leary (Reading, Pa.) totaled a team-high 11 kills without an error at a .733 hitting percentage to lead the Springfield attack. The visitors swung at a .455 clip as a team with Mike Pelletier (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) and Greg Falcone (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) chipping in with seven and six kills, respectively. Springfield setter, freshman Keaton Pieper (Kettering, Ohio) dished out 26 assists with five digs and two kills in the win.
Not to be outdone was Endicott freshman middle Thomas Stoeckinger (Malibu, Calif.) who nearly equaled his season-high with 11 kills on Thursday night. His best this season was a 12-kill effort back on February 18th against Southern Vermont. Stoeckinger tallied a .500 hitting percentage while exhibiting a presence at the net with two block assists.
Endicott’s kill leader, senior outside hitter Jeremy Siden (Natick, Mass.), added nine swings with junior Matt Devendorf (Glastonbury, Conn.) adding four more. Setters Jeremy Schlosser (Emmaus, Pa.) and Carter Roche (Clifton Park, N.Y.) combined for 27 assists with Schlosser leading the way with 18.
Defensively, Pride libero Nick Ferry (Valencia, Calif.) led all players with eight digs as Schlosser paced Endicott with six. In the blocking game, Springfield’s O’Leary had two assists matching Stoeckinger and Gulls junior Kevin Duggan (Glastonbury, Conn.).
In each of the first two sets, Endicott stayed with the Pride by trailing by only a couple of points midway through each set. Springfield, however, would rally to gain separation. In the first up 11-9, Springfield scored four in a row take a six-point advantage. In the second with just a 17-15 advantage, the Pride once again rattled off four straight to take control of the match.
In the third set, however, Endicott and Springfield battled back-and-forth with 15 ties and no team holding a lead larger than two points. After a Siden kill gave Endicott an 18-17 lead, Springfield caught fire with eight straight points to end the match.