CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Billy Evans registered a match-high 11 kills and five aces in MIT's 25-12, 25-18, 25-17 victory over Elms College in a North East Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA) New England Division men's volleyball match on Tuesday night. With the win, the nationally-ranked No. 13 Engineers improved to 19-5 on the year and 12-0 in conference play while the Blazers saw their ledger dip to 8-11 overall and 7-6 in the New England Division.
MIT raced out to a 16-4 lead in the first set. Following the second timeout called by Elms, both squads traded points until a service error and back-to-back kills from the Blazers' Bryson Rainey made the score 21-11. The Engineers posted four of the final five points to close out the set.
After opening the second frame with a pair of hitting errors, MIT called a timeout. Following the break the Cardinal and Gray rattled off five unanswered points, which prompted a timeout by Elms. A block by Mike Martin and Yonalvy Acosta ended the Engineers' run and helped keep the visitors within striking distance for most of the set. Trailing 17-11, the Blazers put together a 4-1 spurt which narrowed their gap to three for the fourth time. MIT countered with a 7-3 run to wrap up the game. On set point, Ken Siebert made a diving one-armed dig which was tipped over by David Thomas with his back to the net.
The Engineers carried the momentum into the final set as they quickly established a 15-6 advantage. Elms battled back, eventually coming within five (19-14) courtesy of a block by Rainey and Josh Chagnon. MIT picked up five of the next seven points, resulting in match point. However, a strike by Martin off the Engineers' block extended the frame. The Blazers attempt at a generating a late rally were thwarted when Matt Hohenberger's tip hit the court and secured the victory.
Hohenberger finished with nine kills, two blocks, and two aces as Thomas totaled nine kills and three blocks. Patrick Vatterott bolstered Tech's attack with eight kills while Garrett Winther notched a pair of blocks. Caine Jette paced the defense with five kills, followed by four from Daniel Sngiem, Evans, and Siebert. Tim Lee compiled 32 assists, four digs, and two aces as Evan Wang dished out four assists.
Rainey led Elms with seven kills to go along with eight digs and two blocks. Acosta recorded four kills, one ace, and one block as Martin collected a match-high 10 digs. Daniel Lebron rounded out the squad with 21 assists and seven digs.
Both squads return to action on Friday, March 4. MIT will host the first day of the MIT Invitational while Elms will travel to NECVA New England Division foe Daniel Webster College.