Feb. 5, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - In a back-and-forth battle, nationally-ranked No. 11 MIT emerged with a 27-30, 30-23, 23-30, 30-26, 15-7 win over Endicott College in a North East Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA) New England Division men's volleyball match on Tuesday night. Praveen Pamidimukkala posted 28 kills and four blocks for the Engineers who improved to 6-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play. A.J. Witkofsky registered 25 kills, 13 digs, and seven blocks for the Gulls (3-5, 1-1 NECVA).
The early stages of the opening game were tightly played as a service error by MIT evened the score at 14. The Engineers bounced back and slowly inched out to a five-point lead (23-18). Endicott continued to attack and narrowed the gap to two on three occasions, the last being at 26-24 on a kill by Witkofsky. The strike sparked five unanswered points that resulted in game point for the Gulls. A tip by Pamidimukkala extended the frame but Endicott converted on its next attempt.
The Gulls jumped out to a 7-3 advantage in the second stanza however MIT countered with a 5-1 spurt that tied the game at eight. Endicott established a slim edge which it would hold until a 6-1 run put the Engineers ahead, 18-14. The Gulls stayed within striking distance and narrowed the gap to three (22-19), but MIT immediately doubled its lead with three straight points. Each side exchanged points until hits by Michael Demyttenaere and Malcolm Bean closed out the game for the Engineers.
Undaunted, Endicott jumped out to a 20-10 margin in the third game. MIT battled back and scored 12 of the next 19 points to cut its deficit to five (27-22). Following their own timeout, the Gulls won the next two points but they would be denied the immediate victory as a kill by Pamidimukkala kept the Engineers alive. Endicott thwarted any chances of a late rally as Ben Foster's hit capped the game.
The Gulls maintained a four-point cushion for the first half of the fourth frame with a hitting error putting them up, 15-11. MIT generated an 8-3 rally that resulted in its first lead of the game at 19-18. Each side tallied three straight points as a block gave Endicott a 24-22 edge and prompted a timeout by the Engineers. After the break, MIT scored three out of the next four points to tie the game at 25. A blast by Zeke Kubisch returned the lead to the Gulls, but a kill by Pamidimukkala helped the Engineers register the final five points and force a fifth game.
MIT carried the momentum into the final frame as it tallied the first three points. Endicott picked up the next two, but that was as close as it would get as the Engineers countered with three consecutive hits by Pamidimukkala. Each side picked up a point until a service ace by Pamidimukkala moved the score to 8-3. Following the changeover, MIT increased its advantage with 5-1 spurt. The Gulls were able to close the gap to seven (13-6) before each side exchanged points as a hit by Bean off a block sealed the match for the Engineers.
Bean and Garrett Winther each posted four blocks while amassing 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Scott Pollom contributed 12 kills and six blocks while Ryan Dean paced MIT with 15 digs. Philip Rogoz notched his third double-double of the season with 44 assists and 10 digs.
Dan Coleman anchored Endicott's defense with a match-high 23 digs while Jordan Durant recorded 14 digs and 10 kills. Foster finished the night with 51 assists and four blocks.
Next up for MIT will be a road match at NECVA New England Division foe Wentworth Institute of Technology on Thursday, Feb. 7. Endicott will host Johnson & Wales University of both Rhode Island and Colorado in a tri-match on Saturday, Feb. 9.