SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Facing nationally-ranked No. 2 Springfield College for the first time in three seasons, the No. 5 MIT men's volleyball team fell to the Pride, 25-18, 25-19, 25-15, on Wednesday night. Junior Matt Hohenberger (St. Louis, Mo.) and sophomore Ken Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) both registered eight kills while Hohenberger earned the Engineers' only ace of the evening.
Senior David Thomas (Carlsbad, Calif.) tallied six kills, five digs, and two blocks as junior Patrick Vatterott (St. Louis, Mo.) led MIT with two blocks. Freshman Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) bolstered the front row with two blocks while sophomore Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) posted 24 assists and four digs.
The Engineers inched out to a 5-2 lead in the first set, but Springfield picked up the next two points. Siebert's kill gave the visitors some breathing room; however, the Pride generated a 6-1 spurt to go ahead, 10-7. MIT battled back, coming within one (11-10) courtesy of kill by Thomas. Springfield responded with a 13-6 run, reaching set point on a service error. Strikes by Siebert and Hohenberger extended the game, but a serving miscue gave the Pride the win.
The second stanza was closely played as it featured five ties, the last at 12-all on a Springfield serving error. The Pride capitalized on miscues by the Engineers, putting it in front, 16-13, which resulted in a timeout. Following the break, MIT narrowed the gap on a kill by Siebert but Springfield quickly picked up the next two points. Both squads went on to exchange points as an error saw the Engineers trim their deficit to three (20-17). The Pride replied by scoring five of the final seven points to claim the set.
Despite surrendering the first two points of the third frame, MIT posted the next three as two came on kills by Hohenberger. A serving error evened the score at three; however, a hitting miscue gave the Engineers the slim edge. Springfield countered by mounting a 14-5 run to take control of the game at 17-9. The Cardinal and Gray continued to attack, eventually narrowing the gap to six (19-13), but the Pride finished the match with a 6-2 spurt.
Next up for MIT (5-3) will be its own invitational on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12 where it will face Emerson College, Stevenson University, York College (N.Y.), and No. 9 Rivier College.