After being home and ending the school year, I decided to wait for the last post of the 2011-2012 season.

First a huge congratulations to the SCVB for winning the first ever D-III National Championship. We all know how hard we worked and how much time we put in the gym. It is a big testament to how close of a team we are and how much we could accomplish in a year.

Next I just wanted to thank all of the athletic staff for making this event so special for players and families. It is truly something we will never forget. Also to our friends, families, and avid student section who made Blake Arena such a home court advantage for us.

I know everyone has seen the already, but we not only swept Carthage College in straight sets but swept Baruch and Hunter in the quarterfinals and semifinals to win the national championship. Our team was playing on a higher level the whole weekend and from our first match Friday, we knew there was a serious chance to win it all. SCVB was a unit all weekend and before we knew it we were lifting the trophy and cutting down the net. I know for me it was such a special time that I will remember for the rest of my life.

The year as a whole is a year that will go down in history. We started off in Hawaii being the first D-III team to attend the Outrigger Invitational and although we did not win a set, we learned about our team and what we needed to fix. We constantly worked on our weaknesses leading up to April. Our team became stronger, closer, and realized that we had a chance to become something great.

Losing only one D-III match all year, we did exactly that. We were great. Most of all we were able to win as a team and enjoy the best moment of the year together. I love this group of guys and would not have wanted to win with anyone else. Soon we will be referred to as the defending National Champion Springfield College Pride, meaning only one thing….we need to work even harder next year to achieve our ultimate goal again.

Go SC!

The Big Dance

Our National Semi-Final match-up against Hunter College ended Saturday with yet another 3-0 sweep. Mimicking our first match against Baruch the first set went by quickly with SCVB not making many mistakes. The second set Hunter was able to hang with us the entire way and even take the lead late in the game. We were able to battle back and take the win in a deuce game 26-24. That was Hunter’s only chance to win a set. The next game finished with the score of 25-7. Chants for Jeff Gutmann rang through Blake Arena and Coach yet again listened to the crowd. Our only senior rallied off a couple of serves and the crowd erupted.

It was a great win for us because it showed we could buckle down and play great volleyball when we needed to.

Now we focus on playing Carthage in the National Championship on Sunday at 4. This has been our goal all season and the time is finally here. I hope everyone comes to support us on our journey to become #1, especially doing it in Blake Arena.


Quarterfinals Against Baruch

After beating Elms College a week ago, Baruch College made it here for the NCAA tournament. Playing them twice this year already, winning in five games and three games we knew we could beat them. We went over a scouting report with coach and knew everything we needed to know about their tendencies and strategies. We were ready to go.

Four of us woke up for our early serve and pass time and went to work on serve receive. Being the only ones in the gym we enjoyed blasting the music and remembering we were playing on our home floor. After a half an hour, we left to prepare for the 12:30 match. As the team gathered into the locker room, music blaring once again, we all realized that it was game time.

Warming up was awesome because although there was sport court down our fans piled in to come watch. It was a great feeling to see that many people there at such an early time. After the warm-up, procession of teams, and the national anthem, the game was finally going to start.

The first game with all of the build up towards this weekend, and we felt like we could have beat anybody. Baruch didn’t stand a chance. Our passing, defense, and attacking were firing on all cylinders and every point the crowd went nuts. The game was over before we realized what had happened and we won 25-12. The second set was a little different. With not nearly as much energy, we put our game on cruise control.  Although we didn’t play poorly at all, the level of emotion was down. We finished the second set 25-16.

The third and what would be final set, went by quickly as well. Baruch playing better than they played all day until Mike Pelletier destroyed an overpass and all hopes of winning we lost after that. With three points until match point, calls for Ryan Coburn from the crowd rang through Blake Arena. Coach subbed him in as a blocking suband right on cue he set the ball right into the antenna. We were able to close out the match with a 25-17 win.

We play Hunter College on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Come support SCVB in the National Championship semi-finals!!

We’re In!

Tonight was the highly anticipated Selection Sunday and the moment of truth where we found out if we would be competing in the Inaugural DIII National Championship.

It seems that our hard work paid off, we were awarded the #1 seed in the tournament mostly because we went undefeated in the East Region and beat five out of the top six teams in the West Region. Also our only DIII loss was to Juniata College, which we avenged later in the year. Our resume proved to be very impressive and that is what got us the #1 seed.

We are all very excited but the word around the locker room is to stay humble and really work hard for the great opportunity we have before us. The next two weeks are going to be full of hard work and dedication and carry that momentum into the tournament.

Hope to see you all in the Mecca, Blake Arena in two weeks!


Waiting Game

Last night we traveled to Cambridge Mass to play MIT. One of the only other independent teams in the nation, this was our conference championship. We beat them earlier in the year at home and this was a must win game.

The first set we definitely weren’t as focused as we should have been which showed when the game got close. Although we won the first game it wasn’t pretty. Our block was not up to par, defense was sloppy and we missed a ton of serves.

The second set proved to be even worse, and along with both MIT outsides bombing jump serves, we lost the second set quickly. There was a major lack of communication and cohesion getting ready for the third set. Everyone was talking and trying to get each other excited but we all knew our season depended on this game.

Finally, we remembered how to play an elite level of volleyball. The third and fourth sets were identical and MIT didn’t have a chance to recover. Our block solidified, and defense picked up. Now waking up today we have to wait for a committee to decide if we make the National Championship. We have won every game that we had to and it is completely out of our hands.

Let Selection Sunday begin.

A Successful Weekend at MIT

Last weekend we traveled to MIT to play four matches against Philadelphia Biblical, Medaille, Elmira, and Bard. Many of these matches were important for in-region rankings and two teams were ranked in the AVCA Top 15.

We were able to get playing time for everyone that traveled and swept every team we played. Four straight 3-0 matches proved that we weren’t messing around and were all business.

On Friday we squared off against PBU and Bard. The starters went up against PBU and the two teams were on opposite sides of the spectrum. We had prepared well and were completely focused. PBU looked a little confused and the game was over before we knew it. After that we ate and hydrated before the Maroon Crew went out and handled Bard with ease. Finally, we got to go eat and had an awesome Italian dinner.

Waking up bright and early, we played in our earliest game all year at 10:30 against Medaille. Once again we were prepared for the #8 ranked Mavericks. The starters were able to take care of business again. There was a slight interruption in the first game when the Springfield Men’s Lacrosse team, who was playing MIT that day, strolled through the walkway making as much noise as humanly possible. It was great to see support from other SC teams and that sort of support isn’t seen everywhere. Again the starters went out to defeat our last opponent Elmira in similar fashion.

After the matches were over, we went to support our SC Softball and Baseball teams who were also at MIT. We paid back what lacrosse did for us and it felt good to do so. All of the Springfield College teams won their respective games and completed a successful day for the Pride in Cambridge.

In less than a week, we head back to MIT to play the Engineers in a match that will decide if we go to the NCAA Championship. This is a must win game and the preparation this week has been dialed up.

After that is Selection Sunday, where we find out if all of our hard work pays off.

Vassar Tournament

As we enjoy our Monday off from volleyball, it is good to look back on a very successful weekend for our volleyball team. SCVB traveled to Poughkeepsie, NY to take on Nazareth College, New Paltz University, Vassar College, and Johnson and Wales University in a weekend full of important in-region matches.

On Friday we were scheduled to play New Paltz first and Nazareth second. Not having played New Paltz this season, there were no assumptions and we were able to roll over them in three sets. We were then scheduled to play Nazareth at 6 p.m. Already having beat them once at Juniata, we knew exactly what to expect and were able to follow the scouting report and beat them in three sets as well. We capped off the night by celebrating Evan Acanfora’s birthday with the SCVB parents and families with some delicious apple cake.

Saturday morning we were scheduled to play JWU and then cap off the tournament with Vassar. After getting to the gym and warming up, the Maroon Crew showed its best play and concentration of the year by taking care of the Wildcats. Once again, SCVB  defeated an opponent in three sets. After a late lunch we prepared to play the host team, Vassar. To them, playing us at their house was their Super Bowl and chance to really show they deserve to be in the tournament in April.

They gave us a run for our money, but when we played our brand of volleyball as seen in the second and third sets, we dominated the match. However, Vassar stormed back in the fourth set, and forced a game five. From there on out, SCVB was able to turn the tides and take the fifth set by storm winning 15-10.

As we prepare for this week of practice, the NCAA tournament looms closer.  But we are still focused on taking one step at a time. Our tournament next weekend at MIT holds many more important matches for us and seeding for playoffs.


Wild Weekend

With four matches scheduled last weekend, three of them being in-region matches against Baruch College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Kean University, and the fourth against our biggest rival Juniata College, Blake Arena was sure to be electric.

Friday consisted of Kean at 5 p.m. and the Juniata at 7 p.m. With both starters and bench players getting fair amount of time, we beat Kean in three sets, which was key because they were previously second in the region. Beating them helped us secure our hold on an at-large bid a little tighter.

Everyone was pumped up for the second game to start, and to get another shot at Juniata after suffering our only D-III loss to them earlier in the year. After campaigns on Facebook to get a crowd; students, friends, and family poured into Blake receiving awesome “Welcome to the Block Party” t-shirts from the athletic department. There was definitely an excitement in the air that only meant Springfield was playing Juniata.

We started off in the first set on fire, every ball dropping for our point and took the first game 25-21. The second set was a different story. We really struggled in the serve receive department and quickly dug ourselves a monstrous hole at 13-4. After a key timeout where we talked about following the game-plan and slowly chipping away at the lead, we were able to bring back the set to 13-12 but couldn’t hold on and lost 25-21. In similar fashion we couldn’t recover in the third set either, again bringing it close but losing 25-18.

Finally before the fourth set, the team got together and decided to finally punch back because our season depended on it. Finding ourselves down 20-15 and with our backs against the use, we used some great defense and serve receive, and benefited from a HUGE overpass kill by Jeff Gutmann we were able to force a game five.

The fifth set was all SC. In front of a standing crowd we were able to pull out a deuce game 16-14 with 11 kills for our 16 points. Before you knew it, the students were rushing the court in a great victory for SC.

The next day we downed past Baruch and Wentworth with the day capped off by Senior Night, where Gutmann the hero of game four of Juniata, got to put on a clinic of his own. Attacking at 16-0-22 he put on an impressive show that will definitely be remembered. Congrats Gut!

With Monday off, many of us were able to rest our feet, watch movies and do homework. Now once again, all of us are itching to get back into the gym tomorrow to get ready for next weekend. With two away tournaments or nine matches left there is still a lot to work towards and look forward to. Keep on rolling SCVB!

Hello from Spring Break

After two regional matches on the Wednesday and Thursday before spring break, we all had our eyes set on going home and getting away from SC for a little while.

Winning both matches even though the team didn’t play well was a huge accomplishment for our team. From beating NYU in five sets when we really showed a lack of concentration and hunger on the court to then defeating Endicott in three sets the next night, I think showed how tough our team really is. These were two great wins for us going into spring break, as we then take the week off and to go enjoy with our families.

I headed home to Long Island, NY and hosted Tyler Tanaka.  Our plans have been made to turn our brains off for a week and not even look at or utter the word volleyball. So far the week has consisted of video games, television, and our lifting regiment that we were sent home with from our strength and conditioning coach.

With only three days left of break we are both once again itching to get back on the court after getting exactly what the doctor ordered. I know the countless teammates feel the same way and with three tournament weekends in a row, this is a time where our season can be made or broken.

Can’t wait to see everyone back at SC!

Away at Baruch

On Saturday, SCVB overcame a two-game deficit  to beat 14th ranked Baruch in five sets in a match that was much closer than we were anticipating. After a week of just practice and no match play, we came out of the gate slow in every set, playing lower than our potential.

The first two sets consisted of a Springfield team that had trouble passing and seemed to be a little jumpy and anxious when some points didn’t go our way. In both games, Baruch was able to separate themselves for most of the game until it was too late. In both sets we were able to rally for a comeback but came short 21-25 in the first set and 24-26 in the second.

The third and fourth sets on the other hand, proved to show a team with a more confidence and communication. We were able to get Baruch out of system by serving tougher and forcing the setter to run a more predictable offense. This helped us in the long run as our blocking and defense was able to get us a win in both sets to force the tie breaker set.

The fifth set was all Springfield. After trading points in the beginning of the game, we were able to get a lead and force the switch at eight. Evan Acanfora was able to stretch the lead by two more with his float serve and we never looked back.

Quick shout out to the  Springfield fans who were in attendance (I think we had as many as Baruch), thank you to the Matthew’s, the Pagano’s, the Falcone’s, and the Lilley’s for coming out to support us.