MIT Defeats #11 Nazareth and Bard in UVC Opener

Sophomore Jacob Gasparich and junior Tom Leech
Sophomore Jacob Gasparich and junior Tom Leech

THE BASICS:

- Scores:

MIT 3, #11 Nazareth College 2 (25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 17-25, 15-10)

MIT 3, Bard College 0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-15)

- Records: MIT (11-3, 2-0 UVC); Nazareth (8-6, 1-0 UVC); Bard (1-10, 0-2 UVC)

- Location: Rochester, N.Y. (Kidera Gymnasium)

- The Lead: The MIT men's volleyball team kicked off United Volleyball Conference action by outlasting nationally-ranked #11 Nazareth College, 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 17-25, 15-10, and sweeping Bard College, 25-20, 25-15, 25-15, on Saturday.

HOW IT HAPPENED – MATCH ONE vs. #11 Nazareth:

- Trailing 9-7 in the first set, MIT put together a 9-2 run that was capped by an ace from senior Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.). An exchange of points followed but host Nazareth stayed close, eventually coming within 23-21. A serving error resulted in set point; however, the Golden Flyers used a kill and a block to extend the frame. The Engineers countered with a kill from junior Tavish Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif.) to thwart the late rally.

- Knotted at 14 in the second stanza, a kill by Smith and a Nazareth hitting error gave MIT a slight edge. The visitors maintained the small cushion until a kill and a hitting error helped the Golden Flyers even the score at 20. A trio of miscues along with a kill by sophomore Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) clinched set point; however, a kill and a setting error kept Nazareth alive. The comeback bid was denied due to a block by sophomore Steven Timberman (Merrick, N.Y.).

- The Golden Flyers rattled off four straight kills to establish a 19-13 lead in the third set. The Engineers battled back, closing the gap to two on four occasions, the last at 24-22 on a serving error. Nazareth then capitalized on a serving error to hold on for the win.

- MIT recorded the first four points of the fourth frame and stayed in front until the Golden Flyers put together an 8-1 run that gave them an 18-13 lead. A brief exchange of points followed but Nazareth finished off the frame with a 5-1 spurt.

- After conceding the first two points of the fifth set the Engineers mounted a 10-3 run. The remainder of the set was an exchange of side outs, ending on a kill by Krasuski.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Krasuski finished with a team-high 16 kills to go along with seven digs and two blocks. Smith posted 15 kills and two blocks as sophomore Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) bolstered the front row with 10 kills and two blocks. Dong tallied 46 assists, 11 digs, and two blocks while senior Jordan Lucier (Torrance, Calif.) collected nine digs.

HOW IT HAPPENED – MATCH TWO vs. Bard:

- The first set was closely played as there were 11 ties and four lead changes. Deadlocked at 14, a pair of kills by freshman Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) sparked an 8-3 run. The back and forth scoring resumed down the stretch, capped by a kill from senior Sean Kropp (Fairless Hills, Pa.).

- Holding an 11-9 lead in the second set the Engineers rattled off four unanswered points en route to a 25-15 win.

- MIT jumped out to a 10-5 advantage in the third frame but Bard narrowed the gap to 13-11. This was as close as it would get as the Engineers responded with a 12-2 run to complete the sweep.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Freshman Cameron Burnett (Solana Beach, Calif.) generated a match-high nine kills and added three blocks while Nelson and Kropp both finished with six kills. Senior Suyash Fulay (Wexford, Pa.) notched seven digs and two aces as junior Andrew Hall (Lynnfield, Mass.) amassed seven blocks. Dong dished out 16 assists in the first set while freshman Michael Kulinski (New Lenox, Ill.) closed out the match with 13 assists and two blocks.

UP NEXT:

- MIT hosts local foe Emerson College in a non-conference tilt on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7:00 p.m.

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