Men's Volleyball Picks Up 20th Win of Season with Split Against No. 5 Benedictine & Illinois Tech

Photo by Gil Talbot
Photo by Gil Talbot

THE BASICS:

- Scores:

No. 5 Benedictine 3, MIT 0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-18)
MIT 3, Illinois Tech 0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-15)

- Records: MIT (20-8); No. 5 Benedictine (20-3), Illinois Tech (6-17)

- Location: Chicago, Ill. (Keating Sports Center)

- The Lead: The MIT men's volleyball team picked up its 20th win of the season this afternoon as the Engineers split with No. 5 Benedictine and Illinois Tech on the team's final day in the Chicago area. This marks the first 20-win season under head coach Todd Elwell and 15th in program history.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Benedictine:

- MIT has the fifth-ranked Eagles on the ropes in the first set as the Engineers led 24-22 after a kill by Troy Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.), but Benedictine scored four straight points on three kills and an ace to win the opening set 26-24. The Engineers jumped out to an early 9-5 lead and forced the Eagles to take a timeout, but a 7-2 run midway through the stanza seemed to be the difference for Benedictine. 

- Benedictine scored the first ten points of the second set and never looked back en route to a 25-16 victory. The Engineers were able to cut the deficit to as few as eight after a 4-0 run that featured kills by Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.), Bradley Albright (Burnt Hiils, N.Y.) and Brett Allen (San Jose, Calif.), but a kill by Benedictine's Chase Olson gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead in the match.

- MIT took a 10-9 lead in the third set after three straight points on kills from Allen and Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.), but Benedictine answered with a 5-1 run that gave the Eagles a 14-11 edge and lead they would not relinquish. The Engineers were able to get within three points at 17-14, but the Eagles outscored MIT 8-4 down the stretch to earn the set 25-18 and the match, 3-0.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Ten different Engineers tallied at least one kill as that effort was highlighted by Kaufman who notched 11 kills on 18 swings (.556) to lead MIT. Senior Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) dished out 30 assisted, while Nelson and sophomore Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) paced MIT with eight digs apiece.

- MIT held an edge in assists (38-36) and digs (44-35), while both the Engineers and Eagles tallied 40 kills over the three sets.

- Benedictine had two student-athletes register double-digit kills as Nick Malak posted a match-high 14 kills and Elijah Medlock notched 13 kills of his own.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Illinois Tech: 

- MIT led from start to finish in the opening set as the Engineers jumped out to a 10-4 lead, a run that featured four kills by Allen and one kill by sophomore Evan Pasko (San Diego, Calif.). The Engineers hit .435 in the first set (12K-2E-23A) as Kaufman, Allen, and first-year Tommy Ogeka (Manorville, N.Y.) posted the final three points for the Engineers en route to a 25-16 victory.

- Illinois Tech took a 14-12 lead in the second stanza, but MIT bounced right back with a 7-3 run that saw one kill by Allen, one kill and an ace by Kaufman and four errors by the Scarlet Hawks as the Engineers regained the lead 19-17. Up 21-20, MIT notched four straight points on a kill by Allen, an error by IIT, a kill by Pasko and an ace by senior Jacob Gasparich (New Lenox, Ill.) as the Engineers took the second 25-20 and a 2-0 lead in the match. MIT was dominant in the second hitting a match-high .458 (12K-1E, 24A).

- The score in the third was knotted at 8-8, but a 12-2 run that featured two kills and an ace by Allen, two kills by Albright, one kill by Pasko, an ace by Kaufman and six errors by IIT gave MIT a huge 20-10 lead in the final set. A kill by senior Steven Timberman (Merrick, N.Y.) secured the third set, 25-15, and the match, 3-0, for the Engineers as MIT closed its trip to Illinois with a 4-1 record.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Allen hit .450 for the Engineers and posted a match-high and career-high 11 kills to lead MIT offensively. Kaufman hit .583 with seven kills, while Albright hit. 462 with eight kills for the Engineers. Michael Kulinski (New Lenox, Ill.) dished out 33 assists, while Colton Stearns (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) led the way for MIT with six digs.

- Today's matchup with Illinois Tech was the first between the Engineers and the Scarlet Hawks. 

- MIT posted its 20th win of the season in the nightcap for its 15th 20-win season in program history and first since 2017.

UP NEXT:

- MIT welcomes No. 8 Endicott College for Senior Day on Wednesday, April 3 at 7:00 pm.

STAY CONNECTED:

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