#15 Engineers Defeat Elmira, Fall to #7 NYU in UVC Finale

Junior Tavish Smith
Junior Tavish Smith

THE BASICS:

- Scores:

#15 MIT 3, Elmira College 0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-21)

#7 NYU 3, #15 MIT 1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21)

- Records: MIT (19-9, 4-4 UVC); Elmira (10-20, 1-7 UVC); NYU (15-8, 7-1 UVC)

- Location: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Athletic Facility)

- The Lead: The nationally-ranked No. 15 MIT men's volleyball team defeated Elmira College, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21, but fell to host No. 7 NYU, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, in its final United Volleyball Conference (UVC) matches of the season on Saturday. The Engineers' performance resulted them in earning the No. 5 seed for the UVC Championship Tournament which begins on Thursday, April 13 at Vassar College.

HOW IT HAPPENED – MATCH ONE vs. Elmira:

- Trailing 15-14 in the opening set, an Elmira hitting error kicked off an 11-4 set-ending run that was capped by a kill from sophomore Steven Timberman (Merrick, N.Y.).

- Knotted at 11 in the second stanza, MIT slowly built a 23-19 lead after a kill from freshman Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.). The Soaring Eagles picked up the next three points but a pair of hitting miscues thwarted the comeback attempt and gave the Engineers the win.

- Down 15-10 in the third frame, a kill by MIT junior Tavish Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif.) sparked an 11-2 run which featured eight unanswered points. Elmira narrowed the gap to 21-20 but the Engineers closed out the match with a 4-1 spurt.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Smith led all players with 15 kills and hit .462 while sophomore Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) produced nine kills, a .500 hitting effort, and two aces. Senior Jordan Lucier (Torrance, Calif.) collected a match-high 15 digs, followed by seven from classmate Suyash Fulay (Wexford, Pa.). Sophomore Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) dished out 41 assists in helping MIT generate a team hitting percentage of .398.

HOW IT HAPPENED – MATCH TWO vs. #7 NYU:

- NYU rattled off five straight points to take a 15-11 lead in the first set, but MIT countered with a 7-3 burst to go back in front. The Violets claimed three of the next four points; however, the Engineers tied the score at 21 on a Smith kill. An exchange of points ensued until back-to-back NYU kills secured the 25-23 win.

- MIT jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second stanza, which eventually grew to 14-7. The Violets battled back, closing the gap to 17-16 on an ace. Following a timeout by the Engineers, both squads traded side outs until Smith's kill and a block by Dong and sophomore Jacob Gasparich (New Lenox, Ill.) gave MIT a 23-20 cushion. The back-and-forth scoring resumed with an NYU ball-handling error giving the visitors the victory.

- Following five ties and three lead changes in the third set, the Engineers established a 15-12 lead on a kill by senior Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.). The Violets responded with an 8-2 run to go ahead for good. After trading points, an NYU kill coupled with an MIT hitting error resulted in set point at 24-20. A hitting error and a Kaufman block kept the Engineers alive but the Violets stopped the late rally with a kill.

- The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair as there were nine ties and three lead changes. Deadlocked at 16, NYU capitalized on a pair of MIT miscues and its own kill to create some breathing room. A kill from Nelson set off an exchange of points down the stretch, concluding with a block by the hosts to clinch the match.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Smith finished with a team-high 14 kills to go along with a .312 hitting performance while Kaufman totaled 12 kills, a .500 hitting percentage, and two blocks. Gasparich posted eight kills, a .700 hitting effort, and four blocks as Krasuski registered 10 kills. Fulay recorded 10 digs and two aces while Nelson bolstered the back row with nine digs. Dong rounded out the squad with 40 assists and eight digs.

UP NEXT:

- MIT closes out the regular season on Saturday, April 8 when it hosts No. 1 Springfield College at 2:00 p.m.

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