Springfield Earns Top Seed for Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship


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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2011) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and USA Volleyball (USAV), in conjunction with Molten U.S.A., Inc., are pleased to announce the seeding for the four-team 2011 Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship. This year's tournament will be held April 15-16 at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.


Top-seed Springfield College (15-13) will face fourth-seed Baruch College (34-14) at 5 p.m. EST on April 15 in the first semifinal match, while second-seed Nazareth College (29-3) will challenge third-seed Carthage College (22-10) at 8 p.m. EST second semifinal. The consolation match will be played at 5 p.m. EST on April 16, followed by the championship at 8 p.m. EST. All four matches will have live video streaming and stats provided on Nazareth athletics' Molten Championship web page.


It was previously announced April 4 that Carthage was selected as the Midwest/West Region at-large representative to the tournament, while the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Division III regular season champion, Springfield, was determined on Wednesday after a head-to-head match with New York University. Nazareth will appear as the host institution, and the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA) will be represented by Baruch, which was the NECVA Tournament runner-up behind Nazareth.


Springfield will look to capture its second consecutive and seventh overall title, which would give the Pride more Molten trophies than any other program in the tournament's history. Carthage, winner of the recent Midwest-III conference tournament, will make its fourth appearance in the event, highlighted by second-place finishes in 2007 and 2005. Nazareth will look to build upon its fourth-place finish last year in making its second Molten appearance. Baruch has earned its first-ever berth into the Molten Championship.


The Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship, in its 15th and final year, was formed due to a need for a culminating event for NCAA Division III men's volleyball. However, a vote at the NCAA Convention in January has given NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball its own NCAA Championship, with the first event being conducted in April 2012.


The Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship selection committee consists of Doug Beal (USA Volleyball chief executive officer); Kathy DeBoer (AVCA executive director); Ivan Marquez (EIVA commissioner); Bob Newcomb (UC Irvine/at-large representative); Stuart Robinson (SUNY New Paltz athletics director/NECVA representative), Dan Harris (Milwaukee School of Engineering athletics director/midwest-west representative), John Kosty (Stanford men's head coach/AVCA Board of Directors representative) and Jerry Matacotta (NECVA representative).


Molten U.S.A., Inc. is the "Official Volleyball of the Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship." Sports Imports is the "Official Net System Supplier of the Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship." Mizuno USA is the "Official Apparel & Shoe Sponsor of the Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship."


About No. 1 Seed Springfield
Springfield, which secured its bid into Molten with a four-set win over New York University on April 6, has compiled a 15-13 overall record in 2011 with a 4-6 mark in the EIVA. During the season, Springfield was 5-2 against ranked NCAA Division III teams, including a win over Molten participant Baruch. The Pride has seven wins over NCAA Division I and II schools, including Grand Canyon, Harvard, NJIT, Princeton (twice), Rutgers-Newark (twice) and Sacred Heart. Springfield clinched the No. 3 seed in the EIVA Division I Tournament, which it will compete in after attempting to win a Molten-record seventh invitational title. Alberto Bravo leads the Pride offense with averages of 4.26 points per set with a .285 attack efficiency, despite playing 18 matches against NCAA Division I or II opponents in 2011. Mike Becker has set the team to a .303 attack efficiency with 10.42 assists per set. Greg Falcone has a team-leading 1.03 blocks per set, along with 1.89 kills per set and a .503 hitting efficiency.


About No. 2 Seed Nazareth
Nazareth, 29-3 on the season and 9-0 in the NECVA, claimed its second consecutive NECVA Tournament title with a five-set win over Baruch. In the process, the Golden Flyers set a school record for wins in a season with 29. Nazareth moved into the top spot of the AVCA Men's Division III Poll on April 5 after holding the position briefly in the Feb. 15 poll edition. The Golden Flyers are 14-3 against ranked NCAA Division III competition during 2011 and 15-0 against non-ranked NCAA Division III opponents. Nazareth holds wins over 2011 Molten teams Baruch and Carthage. Nazareth has a balanced offense with five players averaging at least two kills per set, led by Billy Gimello's 3.23 kill average. Ellis Walsh has attacked with a .479 hitting efficiency with averages of 2.53 kills and 0.76 blocks per set. EJ Wells-Spicer has set the team to a .336 hitting efficiency with 11.47 assists per set.


About No. 3 Seed Carthage
Carthage, 22-10 on the season and 8-0 in the Midwest-III Volleyball Conference, is ranked fifth in the latest AVCA Division III Men's Top 15 Coaches Poll. The Red Men have compiled a 13-2 record against NCAA Division III competition this year, with the losses coming to top-ranked Nazareth and perennial power Juniata College. Carthage has earned wins over NCAA Division II's Grand Canyon, Lees-McRae and King in 2011. Carthage's Randy Hansen has averaged a team-leading 3.35 kills per set with a .300 attack efficiency, while setter Connor Wexter has provided 10.98 assists per set leading to a .297 team hitting efficiency. Tyler Frings has added 1.33 blocks per set.


About No. 4 Seed Baruch
Baruch, ranked sixth in the AVCA Division III Men's Top 15 Coaches Poll with a 34-14 overall record and 14-0 in the NECVA, advanced to the Molten event after finishing runner-up to Nazareth at the NECVA Tournament. Baruch started the season ranked seventh in the preseason AVCA poll, and after slipping to 15th on Jan. 15, the Bearcats have steadily moved back up the rankings. Baruch is 11-12 against ranked NCAA Division III teams and is the only team in the four-team Molten field to play all three opposing teams in 2011 (0-1 versus all three teams). Pablo Oliveira leads Baruch with 4.15 kills per set as part of a .314 hitting efficiency, along with a team-high 1.82 dig average. Eryk Kowalski has added 3.42 kills per set, while Jesus Echevarria has a 9.90 assist average leading to a .302 team attack efficiency.


Tournament History with Final Placing:

2010: 1. Springfield; 2. UC Santa Cruz; 3. Carthage; 4. Nazareth (hosted by Carthage)

2009: 1. Juniata; 2. Stevens; 3. UC Santa Cruz; 4. Ramapo (hosted by Ramapo)

2008: 1. Springfield; 2. Vassar; 3. UC Santa Cruz; 4. Juniata (hosted by Springfield)

2007: 1. Juniata; 2. Carthage; 3. Springfield; 4. Stevens (hosted by Juniata)

2006: 1. Juniata; 2. UC Santa Cruz; 3. Stevens; 4. Rivier (hosted by Stevens)

2005: 1. Juniata; 2. Carthage; 3. Stevens; 4. Medaille (hosted by Stevens)

2004: 1. Juniata; 2. Medaille; 3. UC Santa Cruz; 4. Eastern Mennonite (hosted by Eastern Mennonite)

2003: 1. Springfield; 2. Juniata; 3. La Verne; 4. Stevens (hosted by Juniata)

2002: 1. Springfield; 2. La Verne; 3. NYU; 4. Lehman (hosted by NYU)

2001: 1. Springfield; 2. D'Youville; 3. Clarke; 4. Vassar (hosted by Springfield)

2000: 1. UC San Diego; 2. NYU; 3. D'Youville; 4. Stevens (hosted by Stevens)

1999: 1. La Verne; 2. D'Youville; 3. Clarke; 4. Juniata (hosted by Clarke)

1998: 1. Juniata; 2. La Verne; 3. Springfield; 4. Eastern Mennonite (hosted by Springfield)

1997: 1. Springfield; 2. NJIT; 3. Juniata; 4. UC San Diego (hosted by Juniata)

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