Jan. 24, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Nationally-ranked No. 7 MIT held off a tough Elms College squad as it went on to record a 32-30, 29-31, 30-25, 30-19 victory in a NECVA New England Division men's volleyball match on Thursday night. With the win, the Engineers improved to 2-2 on the year and 1-1 in conference play while the Blazers dropped to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in NECVA action.
In the opening game, Elms used three straight points to establish an 8-7 edge but a block by Malcolm Bean ignited a 13-5 run for MIT. Capitalizing on miscues by the Engineers, the Blazers slowly chipped away at their deficit and eventually went ahead, 27-26. MIT notched the equalizer on the ensuing serve however Elms captured the next two points. The Engineers won the next sideout and reclaimed the lead (30-29) on a block and then a kill by Kenny Rosche. Following their own timeout, the Blazers evened the frame, but it would not be enough as MIT converted a service error and block to wrap up the game.
Despite the setback, Elms raced out to a 16-8 advantage in the second stanza. After six unanswered points by the Engineers, the Blazers were able to maintain the slim lead until MIT tied the frame at 23. Elms responded with four straight points to gain some breathing room, but the opportunity was short-lived as the Engineers picked up the next three points to come within one (27-26) and force a timeout by the visitors. Coming out of the break, the Blazers recorded back-to-back points but a kill by Mike Demyttenaere sparked a three-point spurt which evened the score at 29. Elms bounced back by tallying two consecutive points to close out the frame.
In the third game, six unanswered points turned a 5-2 deficit into an 8-5 lead that the Engineers would not relinquish. The Blazers stayed within striking distance for most of the game until MIT notched a 6-2 run that resulted in a 25-18 advantage. Undeterred, Elms tallied seven out of the next nine points to close the gap to two (27-25). A blast by Garrett Winther ended the late rally and helped power the Engineers to the win.
MIT carried the momentum into the final frame as it jumped out to a 16-6 advantage. Elms registered the next four points, but the Engineers mounted a 7-1 run that gave them their largest lead of the night (23-11). The Blazers picked up the next five points however they could not overcome the deficit as MIT cruised to the victory.
Praveen Pamidimukkala recorded a strong all-around showing for the Engineers, finishing with 14 kills, nine digs, six blocks, and five aces. Scott Pollom paced the blocking corps with 10 blocks as Demyttenaere contributed 10 kills and six blocks. Ryan Dean anchored the defense with 16 digs while Winther added 11 kills. Philip Rogoz rounded out MIT's contingent with 43 assists and four aces.
Alberto Bravo paced the Blazers with 21 kills while Carlos DeLeon-Gomez added 20 kills of his own. Ivan Andujar dished out 51 assists in the loss.
MIT will continue play this weekend at the Stevens Institute of Technology Invitational while Elms will host Newbury College and SUNY New Paltz in a tri-match on Saturday, Jan. 26.