Balanced Attack Leads No. 15 Men’s Volleyball To Three Set Sweep of Eastern Nazarene

Balanced Attack Leads No. 15 Men’s Volleyball To Three Set Sweep of Eastern Nazarene

THE BASICS:

- Score: No. 15 MIT 3, Eastern Nazarene College 0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-18)

- Records: No. 15 MIT (4-0); Eastern Nazarene College (1-2)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)

- The Lead: The MIT men's volleyball team, ranked No. 15 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III national poll, used a balanced attack which featured at least five kills from five different student-athletes to sweep Eastern Nazarene College, 3-0, by set scores of 25-12, 25-16, 25-18 on Friday evening in Cambridge.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- MIT sophomore Michael Kulinski (New Lenox, Ill.) got the Engineers out to the early 2-0 lead in the first set with two straight service aces. With the score at 9-5 in favor of MIT, the Engineers went a 5-1 run which included one kill by Tavish Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif.), a service ace by Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) and three errors from the Lions to extend their lead to 14-6. With MIT up 20-10, freshman Christopher Cheung (San Diego, Calif.) held serve and put the opening set away as a pair of kills by Kaufman as well as a block and two kills via freshman Cole Linnus (Wellington, Fla.) and a service error by the Lions gave MIT the first set, 25-12.

- In the second set, MIT used two kills from Smith and three errors by Eastern Nazarene to take the 5-0 advantage. The visiting Lions climbed back into the set as a 5-1 run of their own pulled them within two at 11-9, which was the closest they would get in the set. After Linnus swung for his second kill of the set to put MIT ahead 12-9, the Engineers went on a 10-2 run, which included ten straight points and a pair of kills by Smith as well as one kill from each of freshman Andrew Callahan (Western Springs, Ill.), classmate Evan Pasko (San Diego, Calif.) and Kulinski which brought the score to 22-11 in favor of MIT. A final kill by junior Parker Hall (Lomita, Calif.) put the second set away for the Engineers, 25-16.

- The third set featured Eastern Nazarene's first lead of the match (4-3) before MIT went on a 4-0 run later on to take the lead 11-7. From that point, the Engineers never trailed again as a set-high six kills by freshman Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) gave MIT the set win, 25-18, and the match sweep.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- In the three-set sweep, MIT received six kills from Wang, Callahan and Linnus as well as five via Kaufman and Smith to earn the team's fourth win of the season. As a team, the Engineers hit at a clip of .286 including a mark of .647 (11 kills on 17 attempts) in the first set.

- Kulinski handed out a career-high 28 assists and added three service aces, while sophomore Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) led MIT with seven digs tonight.

- As a team, MIT statistically led in kills (33-20), assists (33-20), service aces (7-1), digs (31-29), blocks (9-1) and points (49-22).

- Tonight's match marked the first meeting between MIT and Eastern Nazarene in the all-time series as the Lions are only in their second year as an NCAA program.

UP NEXT:

- MIT has a quick turnaround as they will travel to Emerson College tomorrow morning for a non-conference tri-match. The Engineers will take on the host Lions at 11:00 a.m. before playing Southern Vermont College at 1:00 p.m. in Boston.

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