BEVERLY, Mass. – In its first appearance at the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship Tournament, nationally-ranked No. 6 MIT fell to host Endicott College, 25-15, 25-20, 27-25, in first round action on Saturday. With the loss, the Engineers finish the year with a ledger of 24-7.
Junior Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) paced the Cardinal and Gray's balanced attack with eight kills, followed by seven from freshman Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.). Senior Kenny Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) recorded seven kills and seven digs while junior Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) posted six kills and two blocks. Junior Bradley Gross (Centreville, Va.) bolstered the front row with two blocks as sophomore Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) collected 13 digs. Senior Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) compiled 25 assists, 15 digs, and six kills in the loss.
The early stages of the opening set were a back-and-forth affair as a hitting error gave MIT an 8-7 edge. A serving miscue sparked an 11-2 run for the Gulls that put them ahead for good. An exchange of points ensued, moving the score to 21-14, before a 4-1 spurt by the hosts closed out the set.
In the second stanza, the Engineers slowly established a 9-5 lead but Endicott responded with a 9-2 run to go in front, 14-11. Kills by Siebert and Krasuski brought MIT within one; however, the Gulls recorded six of the next seven points to increase their cushion to 22-17. Back-to-back kills from Siebert along with an error prompted Endicott to call a timeout. Once action resumed, the Gulls rattled off three straight points for the win.
MIT jumped out to a 9-5 advantage in the third set and eventually led, 24-13, courtesy of a kill by Gross. Despite the deficit, Endicott continued to attack as a block and kill gave it a 25-24 edge. A strike by Krasuski temporarily ended the comeback rally, but the Gulls capitalized on a hitting error and a kill to secure the victory.