No. 15 Men’s Volleyball Suffers 3-1 Setback to Nazareth in UVC Opener

No. 15 Men’s Volleyball Suffers 3-1 Setback to Nazareth in UVC Opener

THE BASICS:

- Score: Nazareth College 3, No. 15 MIT 1 (25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23)

- Records: No. 15 MIT (7-1, 0-1 UVC); Nazareth College (7-4, 1-0 UVC)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)

- The Lead: In the first conference match of the season for the No. 15 MIT men's volleyball team, the Engineers were defeated in four sets by Nazareth College, which is receiving votes in the latest AVCA Division III national poll, 3-1, by set scores of 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23 on Saturday afternoon in Cambridge.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- The first set, which saw the score tied 16 times and have seven different lead changes, was back-and-forth the entire way. Nazareth, which took the opening set 25-23, had its largest lead at 4-1 as the Golden Flyers got a service ace from Zachary Gillard and a kill via Jake Kemp early on. A pair of MIT attack errors late in the set gave Nazareth a 24-22 edge before, the Engineers cut it back to one on a Golden Flyers error, but the visitors drew first blood with a kill by Antonio Sargent ending the first set, 25-23.

- MIT bounced back in the second by hitting .360 and charged out to an 18-12 lead on a 4-0 run midway through the set. The spurt by the Engineers featured two kills via Tavish Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif.), which accounted for two of his team-high 19 kills on the day, as well as a kill from freshman Evan Pasko (San Diego, Calif.) and a hitting error by the visitors. The Engineers maintained their lead all the way until the end of the set when Andrew Hall (Lynnfield, Mass.) evened the match at 1-1 on a kill from Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) as the hosts took the second set, 25-18.

- Tied at 20-20 late in the third, Nazareth outscored MIT 5-3, to win the set 25-23 and to take a 2-1 lead in the match. The visitors got a pair of kills via Kane Wittorff and one kill from both Sargent and Sam Bittker to seal the third set in the Golden Flyers favor. The third set also saw the score tied on eight different occasions before Nazareth went on its set-ending run.

- In the fourth with the score at 23-22 in favor of MIT, Nazareth scored the final three points to win the set, 25-23 and the match 3-1. Kills by Gillard and Joe Crosby paired with an attacking error by the hosts gave Nazareth the win. Late in the set, MIT was able to take the lead at 20-19 on back-to-back blocks by Andrew Callahan (Western Springs, Ill.) and Hall, but a service error late in the set turned the momentum in favor of Nazareth, which ended the set and the match. The final set featured 12 ties and six lead changes before the final run.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- MIT, which hit over .300 in two different sets this afternoon, ended the day with a percentage of .223 compared to Nazareth's mark of .200. The Engineers produced 48 kills on 121 attempts, while the Golden Flyers notched 58 kills on 150 attempts.

- Smith led the charge for MIT with a season-high 19 kills (19-1-38, .474), while junior Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) dished out 40 assists to pace the Engineers offensive attack. Defensively, sophomore libero Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) registered a match-high 18 digs and was joined by freshman Christopher Cheung (San Diego, Calif.), who notched ten digs of his own. The Engineers also produced a season-high 12 blocks (six solo, 12 assists), led by two solo blocks from Hall and Kaufman as well as three assists by Callahan and Kaufman.

UP NEXT:

- On the second day of the UVC crossover weekend, No. 15 MIT will take on St. John Fisher College at 1:00 p.m. In the morning match, No. 13 Vassar will face Nazareth College at 11:00 a.m.

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