MIT Secures UVC Tournament Berth With 3-1 Road Win at Elmira

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

THE BASICS:

- Scores: MIT 3, Elmira College  (25-20, 19-25, 25-16, 25-21)

- Records: MIT (13-6, 5-4 UVC); Elmira College (9-14, 1-5 UVC)

- Location: Elmira, N.Y. (Speidel Gymnasium)

- The Lead: The MIT men's volleyball team officially secured a spot in the 2019 United Volleyball Conference (UVC) Tournament with a 3-1 win over Elmira College on Friday evening in New York. At the conclusion of the regular season, MIT will be making its the fourth appearance in the UVC Playoffs and will be seeded fifth or sixth in the bracket come April 12. 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- Tied at 18-18 late in the opening stanza, the Engineers rattled off six straight points to take a commanding 24-18 lead. The spurt featured single kills by Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.), Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) and Colton Stearns (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) as well as an ace by Tommy Ogeka (Manorville, N.Y.), a block by Stearns and an Elmira error. Coming out a timeout, a service error by the host Soaring Eagles gave MIT the opening set 25-20 and a 1-0 lead in the match. 

- Elmira scored the first point of the second set off a kill by Matt Straney and never relinquished its advantage en route to a 25-19 victory to even the match at a set apiece. Both teams hit well in the second stanza, but it was the Soaring Eagles who held a .486 to .448 edge to win the set. Late in the set, MIT climbed within four at 23-19 after a kill by Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.), however back-to-back kills by Elmira's Ryan McDonough clinched the second set for the hosts. 

- Both teams traded points in the third until the score was 6-6 and a service error by Elmira gave MIT a 7-6 lead, an advantage the visiting Engineers would never give up. MIT took advantage of an attacking error by the hosts to take its largest lead of the set at 16-10. Then leading 19-16, MIT scored the final six points of the third to win it 25-16 and take a 2-1 lead in the match. The set clinching run featured a kill by Kaufman, two assisted blocks by Kaufman and Dong and three attacking errors by Elmira.

- MIT battled from a 19-16 deficit in the fourth with a 9-2 run to clinch the set 25-21 and the match 3-1. Troy Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) and Kaufman teamed up to secure the match in that stretch as Oliveira posted two kills, Kaufman notched one kill and the duo registered an assisted block.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- MIT hit .269 (42K-13E-108A), tallied four service aces, 32 digs and 20 assists blocks - seven of which came from Kaufman. Elmira held statistical advantages in kills (55-42), assists (51-40) and digs (47-32), but the Engineers took advantage of a combined 44 errors (30 attack errors & 14 service errors) by the Soaring Eagles to win tonight's match.

- Offensively, Kaufman paced the Engineers with 12 kills, while Cole Linnus (Wellington, Fla.) added nine of his own and Dong dished out 33 assists tonight. Defensively, Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) notched a team-high 10 digs, while six Engineers teamed up for 20 assisted blocks.

- Elmira saw McDonough post a match-high 17 kills and 13 digs for the contest's only double-double. Jose Malave added 13 kills of his own for the Soaring Hawks.

- MIT is now 7-3 all-time against Elmira in a series that dates back to 2012 and the Engineers have now won four straight matches against the Soaring Hawks. 

UP NEXT:

- Tomorrow, on the second day of the Elmira College Invitational, the Engineers will play D'Youville and Rutgers-Newark at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, respectively, before heading back to Cambridge.

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