CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the season-opener for both squads, nationally-ranked No. 9 MIT defeated Wentworth Institute of Technology, 25-16, 25-20, 25-15, in a non-conference men's volleyball match on Tuesday night. Junior Ken Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) produced a match-high 12 kills to go along with two blocks for the Engineers while sophomore Sean Donahue (Lincoln, R.I.) paced the Leopards with seven kills and two blocks.
The early stages of the match were closely played until MIT inched out to a 13-10 lead but Wentworth narrowed the gap courtesy of a hitting error and a kill from freshman Aris Bega (Quincy, Mass.), prompting a timeout by the Engineers. Following the break the Cardinal and Gray generated an 11-3 run, including seven unanswered points, to make the score, 24-15. A strike by Donahue kept the Leopards alive but sophomore Chris Omahan (Mount Vernon, Ohio) replied with one of his own to win the set.
The second frame was a back-and-forth affair until a pair of miscues in addition to a kill by sophomore Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) and an ace from senior Matt Hohenberger (St. Louis, Mo.) gave MIT a 16-12 advantage. Wentworth responded with its own four-point spurt as Donahue recorded a kill and collaborated with senior Tyler Moriarty (Wilbraham, Mass.) for a block while sophomore Rami Akouri (Fall River, Mass.) contributed an ace and a kill.
The Engineers picked up the next three points to gain some breathing room; however, Bega earned a kill and ace that trimmed the Leopards' deficit to one (19-18). A pair of hitting errors, a kill from Siebert, along with a block by senior Patrick Vatterott (St. Louis, Mo.) and junior Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) helped increase MIT's cushion to 23-18 before an exchange of points closed out the set.
In the final set, the Engineers crept out to an 11-7 lead but Wentworth scored five in a row to claim the slim edge. The visitors capitalized on a trio of errors in addition to a Moriarty ace and a block by Akouri and junior Brian Mann (East Freetown, Mass.) to go in front, 12-11. Four consecutive miscues by the Leopards propelled MIT to a lead it would not relinquish as it put together a match-ending 14-3 run which was capped on a block by Klein and Vatterott.
Hohenberger registered six kills, five digs, and two aces while Klein chipped in four kills. Syta tallied 26 assists, five digs, four blocks, and two aces as freshman Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) collected 10 digs. Vatterott and sophomore Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) rounded out the blocking corps with four and two blocks, respectively.
Junior Ross Burdett (Needham, Mass.) notched six kills and four digs as classmate Mike Buonincontra (Shelton, Conn.) led the way with five digs. Moriarty added 20 assists and five digs to Wentworth's cause.
Both squads return to action on Saturday, January 26. MIT will compete in the Live Free or Die Tournament co-hosted by Daniel Webster College and No. 9 Rivier College. Wentworth will travel to New Jersey City University where it will take on the host Gothic Knights along with City College of New York and Brooklyn College.