No. 14 Men's Volleyball Splits Home Tri-Match With No. 12 Vassar and Stevenson

No. 14 Men's Volleyball Splits Home Tri-Match With No. 12 Vassar and Stevenson


- Scores:

No. 12 Vassar College 3, No. 14 MIT 1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-19)
No. 14 MIT 3, Stevenson University 1 (22-25, 25-14, 28-26, 25-23)

- Records: No. 12 Vassar (13-6, 4-1 UVC), No. 14 MIT (13-3, 2-3 UVC), Stevenson (12-7)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage) 

- The Lead: In its lone home tri-match of the season, the No. 14 ranked MIT men's volleyball team split its two matches this afternoon. In the first match, the Engineers were edged by No. 12 Vassar College, 3-1, in a United Volleyball Conference (UVC) contest before MIT earned a 3-1 non-conference win over Stevenson University in the nightcap.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. No. 12 Vassar:

- Even at 23-23 at the end of the first set, MIT used a service error by Vassar, a service ace by senior Tavish Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and a Vassar attack error to claim the opening set by a 25-23 score. Early in the set, MIT had an 11-8 lead after Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) registered his third kill of the day, but Vassar answered with a 6-0 run which featured two kills by Matthew Knigge, one kill from Jefferson Waters, a service ace, and two MIT errors to retake the lead, 14-11. With the Brewers ahead 20-17, the Engineers used a kill by Kaufman and two errors by Vassar to tie the set up at 20-20 and both teams then traded points until MIT went on its set-ending run. 

- MIT built its lead to four at 16-12 midway through the second before Vassar went on a 9-2 run to pull ahead 21-18. Over the first half of the set, the Engineers got kills from six different student-athletes including two from Smith, two from freshman Andrew Callahan (Western Springs, Ill.), two from freshman Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) and one each from Kaufman, senior Andrew Hall (Lynnfield, Mass.) and junior Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.). With the score even at 23-23 much like the opening set, an MIT error paired by a kill from Ryan Duchemin gave Vassar the second, 25-23, and tied the match at 1-1.

- The first half of the third set featured eight different ties until a kill by Knigge gave Vassar a 9-8 lead. From that point on, the Brewers maintained control of the third set and went on to win it by a 25-18 final.

- In the fourth, a 7-1 run by Vassar extended the Brewers' lead from 16-15 to 23-16. After MIT got three points back on errors by the visitors, two kills via Kevin Ros gave Vassar the fourth set by a 25-19 final and the match overall, 3-1. In the final set, MIT was able to grab a 13-12 advantage after a 5-1 run midway through the stanza which featured two kills from Wang and Kaufman, but after the Brewers tied the set at 13-13, they never looked back en route to the win.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS vs. No. 12 Vassar:

- Individually, Kaufman led the way for MIT with 14 kills, while Smith posted ten kills of his own. Dong handed out 39 assists and registered a team-high nine digs, while as a team MIT tallied one block solo and eight block assists.

- Vassar was led by Knigge, who posted 23 kills and had 12 block assists and Ros registered ten kills and a match-high 14 digs for the Brewers. Zechariah Lee notched 43 assists in the winning effort for the visitors.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Stevenson:

- In the first set, MIT regained the lead 21-19 after Kaufman tallied back-to-back kills late in the set which forced Stevenson to take a timeout. The timeout worked for the Mustangs as they scored six of the set's final seven points to jump out in front 1-0 with a 25-22 set win. A kill by Landon Shorts after a service ace by Jared Chin clinched the set for the visitors.

- MIT hit .625 (10-0-16) in the second set to tie the match up at 1-1. Tied at six with Smith serving for the Engineers, MIT went on a 4-0 run with two service aces, a kill by Callahan and an error by Stevenson to go ahead 10-6. The Mustangs would get as close as two (12-10), but the Engineers went on a 13-4 set-ending run which featured single kills by Wang, Smith, and Hall as well as a set ending solo block by Kaufman to give MIT the second by a 25-14 score.

- The Engineers jumped out in front 3-0 in the third after a kill by Kaufman, an attack error and an ace by Hall before the set saw the score tied 12 more times. The final time the score was tied was at 24-24 when Wang notched a kill off a feed by Dong. Both teams traded points before Callahan gave the Engineers the lead for good at 27-26. A bad set by Stevenson gave MIT the third, 28-26, and a 2-1 lead in the match.

- Tied at 13-13 in the fourth, Stevenson went on a 5-2 run which featured two kills from Kyle Bosko, two kills from Aleks Melbardis and one kill by Shorts to put the Mustangs ahead 18-15. MIT answered with a 4-0 run on a kill by Callahan, a service ace from Hall and two attack errors to regain the lead, 19-18. The two teams traded points until the score was even at 23-23 before the Engineers closed the set and the match with a kill by Smith and a solo block by Hall to win the set, 25-23, and the match 3-1.


- MIT hit .313 (48-12-115) in the second match as both Smith and Kaufman registered 13 kills apiece. Wang chipped in with nine kills (9-2-23) and both Callahan and Hall added six kills in the balanced effort.

- Defensively, sophomore Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) posted 11 digs, while Hall earned three solo blocks and two block assists. Dong also dished out 37 of MIT's 45 assists in the nightcap.


- The Engineers have almost two weeks before their next match as they will host Johnson & Wales University on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:00 p.m.


 - For the latest on MIT Athletics, follow the Engineers via social media on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.