Men's Volleyball Splits with No. 4 Stevens and Baruch on Saturday

Men's Volleyball Splits with No. 4 Stevens and Baruch on Saturday

THE BASICS:

Scores: 

No. 4 Stevens 3, MIT 1 (25-21, 17-25, 14-25, 22-25)
MIT 3, Baruch College 0 (25-16, 26-24, 27-25)

Records: MIT (6-2, 0-2 UVC); No. 4 Stevens (7-1, 2-0 UVC); Baruch College (3-6)

Location: Hoboken, N.J. (Canavan Arena)

The Lead: The MIT men's volleyball team split a pair of matches against No. 4 Stevens and Baruch College on Saturday in New Jersey. In the first match of the day, the Engineers fell to the host Ducks in four sets in its second United Volleyball Conference (UVC) match of the season and bounced back to defeat Baruch College in straight sets to close their road trip.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Stevens:

- Tied at 4-4 early in the first, MIT went ahead for good with a 6-1 run that featured a service ace by first-year Tommy Ogeka (Manorville, N.Y.), single kills by senior Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) and junior Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) as well as three errors by the host Ducks that put the Engineers out in front 10-5. Stevens was able to cut the deficit to as few as three at 23-20 late in the stanza, but two kills from senior Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) gave MIT the first set, 25-21. 

- MIT scored the first three points of the second on an ace by Dong and two errors by Stevens, but the Ducks battled back with an 11-3 run that was capped by service ace by Jack Bittker to take the lead 11-6 midway through the set. The Engineers came as close as five at 13-8 after a kill by Nelson, but the hosts maintained their advantage to even the match up at 1-1 with a 25-17 second set victory.

- The third set saw Stevens jump ahead 6-2 early on, but an assisted block two points later by Kaufman and first-year Brett Allen (San Jose, Calif.) pulled MIT within two. A kill by Stevens' Ryan Byrne and back to back aces by Bittker extended the hosts lead to five at 9-4. MIT got a point back late in the set to cut the deficit back to five once again at 19-14, but Stevens scored the final six points of the set to win it 25-14 as the Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the match.

- The fourth set featured nine ties with the final one coming at 20-20. Stevens, however, scored five of the final seven points in the stanza to win the fourth 25-22 and win the match 3-1. 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Offensively, MIT was led by Kaufman who hit .444 with ten kills, while Allen added a career-high eight kills on nine swings and Nelson swung for seven kills. Defensively, three Engineers tallied six digs apiece including junior Colton Stearns (Los Altos Hills, Calif.), Nelson and sophomore Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.). Senior Steven Timberman (Merrick, N.Y.) added a pair of solo blocks which accounted for four of MIT's solo blocks on the day.

- Stevens was guided by David Lehman and Bittker who registered 18 and 13 kills, respectively for the Ducks.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Baruch:

- Baruch jumped out to an early 5-3 lead in the first set, but MIT answered with a dominant 9-1 run to go ahead 12-6. The spurt featured two kills by Kaufman, one kill by Dong, an assisted block by Kaufman and Dong as well as five errors by the Bearcats. The Engineers maintained their advantage all the way through the end of the set and a kill by sophomore Evan Pasko (San Diego, Calif.) gave MIT the first 25-16.

- MIT opened the second set on a 7-2 run highlighted by a pair of kills by Stearns, a kill by first-year Bradley Albright (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) and a service ace by senior Jacob Gasparich (New Lenox, Ill.). Baruch battled to cut the deficit to one before the Engineers ballooned their lead to eight on an error by the Bearcats. Baruch went ahead late in the match by a 24-22 score, but four straight points that came on an assisted block by Gasparich and Nelson, kills from Wang and Nelson and an attack error gave MIT a 2-0 lead in the match with a 26-24 second set victory.

- Much like the second stanza, the third came down to critical plays at the end. The third set was knotted at 20, 22, 23 and 24 before a block and a kill by Kaufman paired with an attack error by Baruch gave MIT the set 27-25 and the three-set sweep of the Bearcats.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- The Engineers offensive attack was balanced all the way through as Kaufman posted eight kills, Wang tallied seven kills and both Stearns and Albright swing for six kills apiece.

- Defensively, Stearns led MIT with nine digs, while Dong registered seven digs and first-year Steven Serrano (Oak Lawn, Ill.) added five digs of this own. Kaufman tallied a match-high two solo blocks, while six student-athletes added assisted blocks in the sweep.

- This match between the Engineers and the Bearcats marked the second between the programs this season. MIT adds this sweep to their four-set win against Baruch back on January 26.

- MIT is receiving votes in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll for the first time this season.

UP NEXT:

- MIT will play its first home match of the 2019 campaign on Tuesday, February 12 at 7:00 pm against Emerson College.

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