Feb. 19, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Strong blocking helped power nationally-ranked No. 14 MIT to a 28-30, 30-12, 30-26, 30-22 victory over Emmanuel College in a non-conference men's volleyball match on Tuesday. The Engineers (11-6) evened the season series after the Saints (8-8) recorded a five-game win on January 22.
In the opening game MIT inched out to a 9-5 lead. A service error by the Engineers resulted in four unanswered points for Emmanuel. Each side traded a point before MIT mounted a 7-2 run that established a 17-12 advantage. The Saints slowly chipped away at the deficit and eventually tied the game at 20. Serving and hitting miscues by both sides kept the frame tight as there were four ties and two lead changes before the Engineers went up, 25-24. A strike by Curtis Abram set off a three-point spurt that gave Emmanuel the lead (27-25) for good. Both squads exchanged points to close out the frame as a kill by Brendan Ellis gave the Saints the win.
The Engineers bounced back in the second stanza by racing out to a 16-3 advantage. Emmanuel could not overcome the deficit as MIT outscored the visitors, 14-9, down the stretch.
The Saints jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the third game and later increased their margin to eight on three occasions, the last being at 19-11. The Engineers responded with a 9-2 run that brought them within one (21-20). Matt Salvi's kill gave Emmanuel some breathing room, but MIT picked up six out of the next eight points for a 26-24 edge. Following their own timeout, the Saints cut their deficit in half on Abram's hit that was deflected out of bounds on a MIT block. After trading points, a service error coupled with a block from Scott Pollom and a hit from Praveen Pamidimukkala wrapped up the game for the Engineers.
The early stages of the final frame were closely played as Emmanuel turned a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 lead. Following three ties, a tip by Pollom sparked a 9-2 run that put the Engineers ahead, 17-10. The Saints narrowed the gap to six (21-15), but MIT scored four straight points for its largest margin of the game. Emmanuel continued to attack and once again came within six (26-20), however, the late rally fell short as the Engineers posted four of the next six points to seal up the match.
Pamidimukkala paced MIT's attack with 23 kills as Kenneth Rosche added 12 kills of his own. Garrett Winther notched a team-high nine blocks to go along with six assists while Michael Demyttenaere posted nine kills and six blocks. Tim Lee tallied 25 assists, eight digs, four blocks, and two aces as Philip Rogoz recorded 17 assists and nine digs. Pollom notched eight blocks while Ryan Dean and Matthew Ng finished with 10 and six digs, respectively.
Abram anchored the Saints' attack with 19 kills and a .410 hitting percentage. Michael Townsend collected 17 digs while Taylor Lowe dished out 41 assists.
Next up for MIT will be a road match at NECVA New England Division foe Lasell College on Thursday, Feb. 21. Emmanuel will host the University of New Haven, Mount Olive College, and Southern Vermont College on Saturday, Feb. 23.