Engineers Battle No. 2 Springfield in Three-Set Loss

Junior Sean Kropp
Junior Sean Kropp

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – In its final match of the regular season, the MIT men's volleyball team fell to nationally-ranked No. 2 Springfield College, 25-20, 25-22, 25-16, on Tuesday night. Freshman Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) paced the Engineers' (21-8) balanced attack with nine kills.

Junior Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.) posted seven kills and two blocks as freshman Matt Reilly (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) tallied six kills and two aces. Junior Sean Kropp (Fairless Hills, Pa.) bolstered MIT's offense with six kills while senior Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) collected five digs. Freshman Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) rounded out the squad with 26 assists, six digs, and two blocks.

In the opening set, the Engineers inched out to a 6-2 advantage and maintained a small cushion until three straight points put Springfield in front, 11-9. A kill by Reilly set off an exchange of points as a hitting error brought MIT within 15-14. The Pride replied with a 5-2 spurt to gain some breathing room before going on to claim a 25-20 win.

The early stages of the second stanza were closely played as it featured seven ties and three lead changes. With the score even at 11, Springfield put together a 6-2 run which prompted an MIT timeout. Once action resumed, Reilly collaborated with Kaufman for a block and then added a kill as the Cardinal and Gray capitalized on two hitting errors to knot the set at 17. The hosts responded by generating six of the next eight points but MIT narrowed the gap to 23-21 courtesy of a Kropp kill and a Springfield hitting miscue. The Pride registered a kill for set point; however, a kill by Dong kept the visitors alive. Springfield wasted no time in thwarting a comeback attempt as it produced a kill to end the frame.

After a back and forth start that generated six ties and three lead changes, the Pride broke open the third set with an 8-1 run that resulted in a 17-10 advantage. MIT captured the next two points when sophomore Andrew Hall (Lynnfield, Mass.) posted a kill and teamed with Reilly for a block. This was as close as it would get as Springfield cruised to the 25-16 victory.

Next up for MIT will be the United Volleyball Conference Championship Tournament that will be hosted by nationally-ranked No. 1 SUNY New Paltz. The No. 5 seeded Engineers will take on No. 2 seed and nationally-ranked No. 9 Nazareth College on Friday, April 8 at 5:00 p.m. in the quarterfinals.