February 17, 2010

Demyttenaere Reaches Milestone, Engineers Blank Harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Mike Demyttenaere registered eight kills, helping him become the fourth player in the history of the MIT men’s volleyball program to surpass the 1,000-kill mark as the Engineers recorded a 31-29, 30-28, 30-19 victory over cross-town rival Harvard University on Wednesday. The Cardinal and Gray picked up its second win in three years against the Crimson while the sweep was the first since 1989.

In addition to his strong hitting performance, Demyttenaere added three blocks and three aces. Matt Hohenberger paced MIT (12-4) with 14 kills to go along with two blocks and an ace. Garrett Winther posted seven kills, six blocks, and three aces as David Thomas racked up nine blocks and six kills. Patrick Vatterott notched three kills and two blocks while Alex Becherer totaled three digs, two kills, and two aces. Jeremy Velazquez and Eric Reuland each recorded two digs as Velazquez chipped in an ace. Tim Lee tallied 33 assists and a match-high eight digs.

Erik Kudl led the way for Harvard (0-6) with 16 kills and five digs while Gil Weintraub compiled 12 assists, 10 kills, and four digs. Rob Lothman totaled 26 assists and three aces as Derek Jansma eared a pair of aces. Matt Jones contributed five kills and five digs while Nikola Ivica bolstered the front row with six kills and four blocks.

Facing a 3-2 deficit in the opening frame, the Crimson put together a 6-2 spurt capped on a block by Kuld and Ivica to take a slim lead. MIT recorded six out of the next seven points to go ahead and went on to build a 19-15 advantage. Harvard responded with a 7-1 run to reclaim the lead, but the Engineers battled back using a Hohenberger kill to take a 25-24 edge. Following a timeout by the Crimson, the visitors evened the set on a service error; however MIT followed with another kill by Hohenberger and an ace from Becherer. Kuld posted four out of the next six points to knot the score at 29. A strike by Demyttenaere coupled with a hitting error clinched the first set for the Engineers.

MIT carried the momentum into the second stanza as it established a 7-3 lead. The Crimson stayed within striking distance, coming within one on a pair of occasions, the last at 13-12. The Engineers registered nine out of the next 10 points to gain some breathing room, but Harvard stormed back with a 14-4 run to go ahead, 27-26. A pair of miscues put the hosts in front; however a tip by Kuld tied the game at 28. Demyttenaere’s kill resulted in set point, which prompted a timeout by the Crimson. The break did not deter the Engineers as a block by Thomas and Winther closed the frame.

MIT quickly generated a 6-1 advantage in the final frame before extending its margin to 21-11. Kills by Jansma and Ivica followed by a block from the duo trimmed Harvard’s deficit to seven (21-14). This was as close as it would get as the Engineers maintained their comfortable cushion and converted a block by Thomas, Winther, and Hohenberger to clinch the match.

MIT hits the road this weekend for the Endicott College Invitational with action beginning on Saturday, Feb. 20. Harvard resumes play on Thursday, Feb. 25 when it hosts UC-Santa Barbara.