HOBOKEN, N.J. – In its final United Volleyball Conference (UVC) match of the season, the No. 5 MIT men's volleyball team fell to No. 10 Stevens Institute of Technology, 25-17, 26-24, 18-25, 25-23, on Saturday. Despite the setback, the Engineers (20-5, 8-3 UVC) qualified for the UVC Championship Tournament to be held April 12-13 at Nazareth College.
Freshman Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.) tallied 16 kills, six digs, and two blocks while junior Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) recorded 15 kills, a .312 hitting performance, and three blocks for MIT. In two sets, freshman Sean Kropp (Fairless Hills, Pa.) produced six kills and a .455 hitting percentage as classmate Aaron Zalewski (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) posted five kills and four blocks. Junior Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) rounded out the front row with five kills and three blocks while senior Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) totaled 41 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) amassed a match-high 18 digs followed by 12 from freshman Jordan Lucier (Torrance, Calif.).
The Engineers inched out to a 5-3 lead in the opening set on a block by Busse and Krasuski but Stevens picked up six of the next seven points to go ahead for good. An exchange of points followed before the Ducks put together a 9-3 run that resulted in a 20-12 advantage. The back-and-forth play resumed until strikes by Krasuski and senior Kenny Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) trimmed the deficit to 22-16. Stevens countered by winning three of the final four points to take the set.
MIT recorded the first five points of the second stanza and eventually held a 16-12 lead. The Ducks rattled off four straight points to tie the score but the Engineers mounted a 6-1 spurt that gave them a 22-17 cushion following a kill from Krasuski. Stevens then matched the visitors' effort to even the set at 23. A hitting error gave MIT set point; however a pair of blocks and a hitting miscue completed the come-from-behind win for the Ducks.
In the third set, the Cardinal and Gray jumped out to an 11-4 advantage courtesy of an ace from Zalewski. Stevens captured the next three points but this was as close as it would get as MIT eventually reached set point on a serving miscue. Two kills and an ace extended the frame for the Ducks; however, a kill from Kropp gave the Engineers the victory.
Stevens built an 11-5 lead in the fourth frame but MIT capitalized on a trio of miscues along with kills from Zalewski, Klein, and Krasuski to come within one point (12-11). The Ducks responded with a four-point spurt to gain some breathing room; however, the Engineers slowly chipped away at the deficit as they tied the score at 20. An exchange of points ensued until a kill and block ended the match and thwarted MIT's comeback attempt.
MIT resumes play on Friday, April 4 when it hosts the two-day MIT Scramble Tournament which features Bard College, Elmira College, Hunter College, Southern Vermont College, and UC Santa Cruz.