Going Dancing; Men's Volleyball Captures First GNAC Championship

Going Dancing; Men's Volleyball Captures First GNAC Championship

BOSTON, Massachusetts – Tournament most valuable player junior Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) recorded 17 kills and hit .481 as the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team captured its first Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship with a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over Rivier.

With the win the Leopards run their win streak to eight matches and improve to 22-8 on the season. Wentworth earns the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Tournament and will find out its next opponent on Monday at 10:00 a.m. The Raiders, who were making their ninth straight appearance in the conference title game, finish the season at 22-11.

The teams traded points early on before Rivier took a 9-5 lead after an attack error. Two straight Wentworth points cut the deficit in half Reed had a kill and the Leopards received a point off an attack error. Rivier pushed the lead to 15-11 after an attack error, however Wentworth responded to pull within a pair X times, including at 19-17 before a kill and an ace from sophomore Grant Andler (Chicago, Ill.) pushed the lead to 21-17. At 22-18, a sophomore Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) kill and a bad set brought the score to 22-20. Junior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) brought the Black & Gold to within one at 23-22 and he and Reed tied it with a block, forcing the Raiders to call timeout. Out of the timeout, Rivier got a point off a service error, however set point was staved off on a Reed kill. At 25-all, a service error gave the Leopards a chance to serve for the set and a Potts and sophomore Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.) block would end it at 27-25.

Mullen (6-0-9) and Potts (4-0-6) each hit .667 in the set. Potts also added four blocks. Andler had five kills for Rivier.

After a pair of ties to open the set, Rivier took an 8-3 lead which forced Wentworth to take a timeout. The Leopards sliced into the Raiders' lead, bringing it to three on a pair of occasions. Rivier took a 15-9 lead after kills from sophomore Matt Heckler (Simi Valley, Calif.) and back-to-back kills from junior Ian Wolski (Westfield, Mass.). The Raiders' run continued to make it 17-9 before a sophomore Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.) kill would make it 17-10. Trailing 19-11, the Leopards scored four straight points to make it 19-15, forcing Rivier to call timeout. Out of the timeout, freshman Khaynen Yocca (Pittsburgh, Pa.) ended the run with a kill. Potts, Roat, and Reed all recorded kills to pull the hosts within a pair at 20-18 and a Roat kill would make it 21-19. A kill from Andler and a Yocca ace gave the visitors a 23-19 lead and Wolski had a block to give Rivier set point. Wentworth scored two straight to make it 24-21, however a Andler kill ended the set.

Wolski (.714) and Andler (.625) each had five kills for Rivier in the set while Wolski added a pair of blocks. Reed was a perfect 1.000 (5-0-5) while Roat also had five kills. Both teams hit well as the Raiders hit .441 and the Leopards hit.464.

Rivier broke a 2-all tie in the second set after a pair of Andler kills and took a 9-6 lead on a blocking error. Wentworth stormed back to score the next four points to take a 10-9 lead on a Reed kill before Andler tied it with a kill. After Roat recorded a kill, Rivier used a 4-0 spurt to give the Raiders a 14-11 lead. Potts ended the spurt with a kill. With the Raiders holding an 18-15 lead, two straight Wentworth points made it 18-17 before a Andler kill made it 19-17. An attack error and block from Potts and Roat knotted the score at 19-all, however a service error gave the visitors a 20-19 lead and an Andler ace made it 21-19, forcing the Leopards into a timeout. Potts recorded a kill to make it 21-20, but a Heckler block made it 22-20. Roat and Oshman combined for a block to make it 22-21 and Rivier took a 23-21 lead on a Andler kill. A service error gave the Raiders set point which they converted after an attack error to take a 2-1 lead.

Andler hit .500 (6-1-10) in the set for Rivier while Potts hit .556 (5-0-9) with three blocks for Wentworth which also received four blocks from Roat.

Mullen recorded a kill and served an ace to snap a 6-all tie which was followed by back-to-back attack errors to make 10-6 and forced Rivier into a timeout. The teams exchanged service errors and a senior Mike Hadder (Yucaipa, Calif.) kill made it 11-8. Potts laid down a kill to make it 12-8, however the Raiders scored on an attack error and an Andler kill to make it 12-10. Wentworth increased its lead to 17-13 after an attack error and led 19-15 after another attack error. The Leopards saw their lead swell to 22-16 before a service error made it 22-17 and a block from Wolski made it 22-18. Out of a timeout, Mullen recorded a kill to make it 23-18, and, after an attack error, a service error gave Wentworth set point at 24-19. The Raiders scored the next two points, however an Oshman kill forced a fifth set, 25-21.

Mullen had five kills in the fourth set While Potts hit .800 (4-0-5). Andler added two more to his total in the fourth set.

Reed opened the fifth set with a kill and an ace before an Andler kill got the visitors on the board. Wentworth took a 7-4 lead when Reed and Potts combined for a block, forcing the Raiders to call timeout. An attack error gave the hosts an 8-4 advantage at the changeover and Rivier called its second timeout of the set after a second consecutive attack error. Wentworth's lead swelled to 10-4 before an attack error ended the spurt and at 11-7 Wentworth called a timeout. Oshman put down a kill to make it 14-9, however a service error staved off match point. Reed ended the match with a kill giving the Black & Gold their first conference championship.

In the fifth set Wentworth hit .700, making zero errors on 10 swings while forcing Rivier to hit -.091.

Potts had 18 kills on 27 swings without an attack error (.667) to go along with nine blocks. Mullen had 15 kills, Roat added 10 kills and eight blocks, sophomore Kevin McPeek (Bethlehem, Pa.) had a career-high 62 assists, and Reed also had nine digs.

Andler finished with 22 kills and hit .405 while serving two aces. Wolski (13 kills, three blocks) and Yocca (10 kills, two aces) also had double-figure kill totals. Junior Tyler Blank (Rochester, N.Y.) had 48 assists on the evening.

In addition to Reed, Potts and McPeek were Wentworth's representatives on the all-tournament team while Andler and Blank were selected from Rivier. Lasell's Patrick MacDonald and Emmanuel's Barrett Wingard rounded out the team.