Men's Volleyball Edges Wentworth in Five Set Thriller

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

THE BASICS:

Scores: MIT 3, Wentworth 2 (25-21, 25-17, 19-25, 23-25, 15-11)

Records: MIT (9-2); Wentworth (6-3)

Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)

The Lead: Powered by a double-double from sophomore Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) and four other Engineers with double-digit kills, the MIT men's volleyball team edged Wentworth Institute of Technology in five sets by scores of 25-21, 25-17, 19-25, 23-25, 15-11 on Wednesday evening in Cambridge.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- Leading 13-10 midway through the opening set, a pair of kills by senior Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) as well as an assisted block by Kaufman and first-year Tommy Ogeka (Manorville, N.Y.), the Engineers built their lead to six points at 16-10. Wentworth rallied to pull within one with a 10-3 run of its own late in the set, but solo kills by Wang and Ogeka as well as an ace by sophomore Cole Linnus (Wellington, Fla.) paired with three errors by the Leopards gave MIT the first set, 25-21.

- The second stanza was decided by a 7-2 run midway through the set that saw two kills from first-year Troy Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.), solo kills and a block assist via senior Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) and Kaufman, an ace by Ogeka and an error by Wentworth. The spurt put the Engineers up 21-14 and a kill by Wang put MIT ahead two sets to none with a 25-17 second stanza win.

- Tied at 15-15 midway through the third, Wentworth closed the set by going on a 10-4 run that put the Leopards back in the match. Wentworth's run featured kills by five different student-athletes and was capped by a kill from Ryan Love to win the third 25-19.

- Wentworth and MIT were knotted at 19-19 late in the fourth set, but a 5-1 run by the Leopards forced the Engineers to call a timeout. Oliveira came out of the timeout for the Engineers with three kills over a four-point stretch, but Xhulijo Zyba evened the match up at 2-2 and gave the Leopards the fourth stanza 25-23 with his set ending kill.

- The Engineers went ahead 11-9 in the fifth set on back-to-back kills by Kaufman and Ogeka and never looked back. Wentworth climbed back within one on two occasions, but a kill by Dong and back-to-back swings by junior Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) secured the fifth set and the match for the Engineers. 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Offensively, four Engineers posted double-digit kills highlighted by a career-high 18 by Oliveira. Wang added a season-high 12 of his own, while Nelson and Kaufman both tallied 11 kills in the five setter. With his performance tonight, Kaufman notched the 1000th point of his collegiate career.

- Wang paired his 12 kills with a career-high 16 digs for the first double-double of his collegiate career. Defensively, libero Colton Stearns (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) registered 15 digs of his own, while Dong tallied ten digs and dished out a career-high 62 assists.

- Wentworth was guided by Love who swung for a match-high 20 kills, while Peter Klembczyk notched a match-high 20 digs defensively for the visiting Leopards. 

- MIT improved to 37-5 in the all-time series against Wentworth which dates back to 1986 and the Engineers have won the previous four matches versus the Leopards.

UP NEXT:

- MIT hits the road for a trio of matches including two of which will be United Volleyball Conference (UVC) contests. On Saturday, the Engineers will play Colby-Sawyer College and Bard College at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, respectively, before heading to No. 8 New Paltz for a 12:00 pm match on Sunday.

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