ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Seeded No. 3 in the United Volleyball Conference (UVC) Championship Tournament, MIT fell to No. 6 seed Stevens Institute of Technology, 16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, in the quarterfinal round on Saturday afternoon at Nazareth College. The nationally-ranked No. 5 Engineers finish their season with a ledger of 24-6 and await news regarding the possibility of an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament which will be announced on Monday, April 14.
Senior Kenny Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied 13 kills, eight digs, and two aces while junior Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) recorded 10 kills and a .444 hitting performance. Freshman Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.) posted 11 kills and five digs as classmate Aaron Zalewski (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) registered seven blocks and six kills. Junior Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) notched six kills and five blocks while senior Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) compiled 29 assists, seven kills, and three digs. Sophomore Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) paced MIT with 14 digs as freshman Jordan Lucier (Torrance, Calif.) added nine of his own. Senior Evan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) rounded out the squad with 19 assists and five digs.
The Engineers slowly established a 13-8 lead in the first set but a kill and a pair of hitting errors brought Stevens within two. This was as close as it would get as MIT responded with a 10-5 run, capped by Klein's solo block, to close out the set.
MIT inched out to a 5-2 advantage in the second stanza; however, the Ducks mounted a 13-4 run to reclaim the lead. The Engineers responded with an 8-2 spurt as a kill by Siebert evened the score at 17. Stevens used a three-point spurt to gain some breathing room but a setting miscue helped MIT come within one (21-20). The Ducks won the next two points, prompting a timeout by the Engineers. After the break Krasuski recorded a kill; however, Stevens reached set point on its next attempt. A kill by Zalewski coupled with a hitting error once again brought MIT within one (24-23) but following their own timeout, the Ducks thwarted the comeback attempt with a kill.
The third set was a tight affair as it featured 18 ties and nine lead changes. With the score knotted at 18, Stevens generated a 4-1 spurt for the largest lead (22-19) by either team in the frame. Following an MIT timeout, Siebert recorded a kill that set off an exchange of points that eventually clinched the victory for the Ducks.
Stevens jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the final frame but the Engineers slowly chipped away at the deficit as a block by Zalewski and Klein put them ahead, 17-16. The set became a back-and-forth affair as a Siebert kill gave MIT a 21-20 edge. Stevens responded with a pair of blocks that sandwiched an ace to go up, 23-21. The Engineers stopped the spurt with a strike by Krasuski; however, the Ducks wrapped up the match with back-to-back kills.