Men's Volleyball Sweeps Aurora & North Park to Open Trip to Chicago

Photo by Gil Talbot
Photo by Gil Talbot

THE BASICS:

Scores: 

MIT 3, Aurora College 0 (26-24, 25-13, 25-16)
MIT 3, North Park University (25-14, 25-23, 25-16)

Records: MIT (18-7); Aurora (9-12); North Park (4-21)

Location: Chicago, Ill. (North Park Gymnasium)

The Lead: On the first day of their trip to the Midwest, the MIT men's volleyball team swept both Aurora College and North Park University In Chicago. Today marked the first meeting with either team for the Engineers. 

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Aurora:

- The Engineers got off to a slow start in the first set as the opening stanza saw the score tied 13 different times. MIT trailed 22-21 late in the set, but back-to-back kills by sophomore Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) gave the Engineers a 23-22 advantage. Aurora was able to tie the score at 23-23 and 24-24, but a service error by the Spartans paired with a kill by first-year Troy Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) gave MIT the first, 26-24.

- In the second, MIT led by a score of 8-5 before the Engineers put the set away with a dominant 10-1 run to extend their lead to 18-6. The run for MIT featured two kills and three assisted blocks by sophomore Cole Linnus (Wellington, Fla.), two kills by junior Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.), a kill and an assisted block by Wang, an assisted block by first-year Tommy Ogeka (Manorville, N.Y.) and two Aurora errors. Lead 23-13, back-to-back kills by Linnus gave MIT the second set, 25-13 and a 2-0 lead in the match.

- MIT jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the third and never looked back as the Engineers secured the third set, 25-16 and the match in straight sets. In the first, MIT hit .206 (14K-7E-34A), in the second, MIT hit .300 (11K-2E-30A) and in the clinching set MIT hit .161 (10K-5E-31A).

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- MIT's offense was piloted by nine kills via Wang, eight kills from Nelson and seven kills by senior Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.). Senior Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) posted 29 assists and a season-high 16 digs, while first-year Brett Allen (San Jose, Calif.) and Linnus both notched two solo blocks apiece.

- MIT held statistical advantages in kills (35-23), hitting percentage (.221- -.009), assists (32-20), service aces (3-2), digs (53-39), solo blocks (6-0) and assisted blocks (11-4).

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. North Park:

- In match two against North Park, MIT scored eight of the first ten points en route to a 25-14 opening set victory. The 8-2 run to begin the game was sparked by two kills apiece from senior Steven Timberman (Merrick, N.Y.) and Allen. The Engineers allowed North Park to score five of the final six points of the set, but a kill by senior Sam Bockman (Oceanside, Calif.) gave MIT the first set. The first set saw MIT hit a match-high .371 (17K-4E-35A).

- The second stanza was much closer, but MIT was able to come away with a 25-23 victory to take a dominant 2-0 lead in the match. Trailing by one at 14-13, the Engineers went on a 5-1 run to push its lead out to three at 18-15, which was large enough to hang on for the set win. The late rally saw solo kills by Timberman and senior Jacob Gasparich (New Lenox, Ill.) as well as three errors by North Park. Up 24-23, a swing by first-year Bradley Albright (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) gave the Engineers the second set and a 2-0 lead heading into the third.

- MIT trailed 6-4 early in the third, however a 10-1 run by the Engineers ballooned their lead to seven at 14-7 and they never looked back. The ten-point swing saw solo kills by Allen, junior Colton Stearns (Los Altos Hills, Calif.), Gasparich and Bockman. A kill by Stearns ended the match as MIT took the third by a 25-16 final as the Engineers hit .357 (14K-4E-28A) in the final stanza. 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Albright registered a career-high and match-high11 kills to lead the Engineers offensive efforts in the nightcap against North Park. Allen added nine kills and both Timberman and Gasparich ended their nights with seven kills apiece. 

- First-year Steven Serrano (Oak Lawn, Ill.) notched a career-high and match-high 21 digs, while junior Michael Kulinski (New Lenox, Ill.) dished out a match-high 41 assists.

 - The .318 hitting percentage that the Engineers tallied tonight was the highest since MIT defeated Bard College back on February 23. In that match, MIT hit .419.

UP NEXT:

- MIT will travel to No. 14 Dominican University (Ill.) for its third match of the team's trip to Chicago, Illinois. The match is slated to start at 8:00 EST/7:00 CST

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