CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The nationally-ranked No. 10 MIT men's volleyball team extended its winning streak to six following a 30-9, 30-21, 30-23 decision over non-conference foe Johnson & Wales University on Thursday. The Engineers improved to 25-7 on the year while the Wildcats saw their ledger dip to 8-15.
MIT raced out to a 13-3 lead in the opening set, but Johnson & Wales posted three out of the next four points. Sean Livesy converted a point off a block by the Engineers while Robert Slough added a pair of kills. The Cardinal and Gray countered with a 15-2 run as back-to-back aces from Matt Hohenberger resulted in set point. Tim Haley's hit off MIT's block extended the frame, however the Engineers immediately picked up the ensuing point.
The early stages of the second stanza saw four ties and one lead change before MIT recorded a 6-1 spurt to go up, 11-6. The Wildcats quickly narrowed their deficit to three (12-9), but the Engineers recorded a 7-2 spurt which featured back-to-back kills from Benson George and an ace by Robin Demyttenaere. Johnson & Wales continued to attack, closing within five on a pair of occasions, the last at 23-18. MIT denied any hopes of generating a late rally as it won seven of the final 10 points of the set.
In the final frame, the Engineers slowly established a 10-4 lead but the Wildcats trimmed the margin to three, the second time at 11-8. MIT mounted a 15-6 run, capped with an ace from Caine Jette, to gain some breathing room. Johnson & Wales responded with a 9-3 spurt of its own as back-to-back aces from Haley held the Engineers at match point. A miscue by the Wildcats thwarted any chance of extending the contest.
MIT featured a balanced attack and a team hitting percentage of .367. Alex Becherer led the way with 11 kills to go along with four digs and three aces. Troy Tamas notched seven kills and six digs as David Thomas connected on six of his nine hitting attempts. Matt Hohenberger went 5-of-6 on attack while tallying three aces in the opening set. Patrick Vatterott posted five kills and two blocks as Robin Demyttenaere totaled four kills and two aces. George picked up three kills and two blocks while Mike Demyttenaere chipped in two kills in the first frame. Jeremy Velazquez contributed four digs and two kills as Garrett Winther added two blocks and a kill. Jette compiled 24 assists, one ace and a kill while Tim Lee recorded 13 assists and four digs. Eric Reuland powered the defense with 16 digs.
Slough paced the Wildcats with six kills and two blocks as Mark Garlock finished with 14 assists and two aces. Haley earned a pair of aces while Chris Gauch collected 12 digs.
Both squads continue play on Saturday, March 20. MIT will travel to Elms College for a tri-match with Mount Ida College while Johnson & Wales will host No. 9 Endicott College.