THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team snapped a two-match losing streak by picking up a pair of wins on the opening day of the Cal-Lu-Fornia Invitational played at Cal Lutheran University. The Leopards edged Benedictine Mesa, 3-2, before sweeping the host Kingsmen, 3-0.
Wentworth 3, Benedictine Mesa 2
Wentworth hit a match-high .480 (14-2-25) in the opening set against the Redhawks and came away with a 25-15 win. The Leopards held a 10-5 lead after a senior Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) kill. BenU scored two of the next three points to make it 11-7, but three straight Wentworth points extended the lead to 14-7. The Redhawks pulled within five at 17-12 after a service error, but the Black & Gold closed out the set on an 8-3 run to win, 25-15.
BenU evened the match at a set apiece with a 25-21 win in the second set. Wentworth held a 10-8 lead after a service error, however the Redhawks responded with a 5-1 run to take a 13-11 lead. A junior Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.) kill made it 14-13 but a 6-2 spurt gave BenU a 20-15 lead. Four straight points – capped off by a block from Roat and classmate Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.) brought the Leopards within one at 20-19 however the RedHawks closed out the set by scoring five of the final seven points.
Wentworth took a 2-1 lead with a 25-19 win in the third set. With the score tied at 4-all, the Leopards scored seven straight points and took an 11-4 lead on a kill from Roat. The Redhawks came back to tie the set at 14-all after an attack error and tied the set two more times, including at 17-all. Five straight Wentworth points, capped off by a junior Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) kill, made it 22-17. BenU scored the next two points to come within three but that would be as close as the Redhawks would come as the Leopards scored the final three points.
BenU forced the fifth and deciding set with a 28-26 win. The Redhawks took a 10-7 lead before three straight Leopard points made it 10-10. Those three points started a 6-2 run which would give Wentworth a 13-12 lead after a senior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) kill. After three ties, Wentworth held an 18-15 edge and the teams battled back and forth with the Redhawks tying the set at 23-all on a service error. Mullen gave Wentowrth a chance to close the set with a kill that made it 24-23 and kills by junior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and Oshman each gave Wentworth a chance at set point at 25-24 and 26-25, respectively. BenU scored the next three points to even the match, 2-2.
Wentworth raced out to a 5-1 lead in the deciding set and never looked back, hitting .421 in the frame. The Redhawks closed the gap to two points on two occasions, including at 14-12, however Roat ended the match with a kill.
Mullen had 16 kills and hit .467 (16-2-30) to go along with three aces, seven digs, and two blocks. Roat had 14 kills, six digs, and two blocks, Reed had 14 kills and 10 digs, and Oshman had 10 kills and two blocks. Ritter had 54 assists, two aces, eight digs, and three blocks. Wentworth hit .302 as a team.
Wentworth 3, Cal Lutheran 0
Wentworth hit a blistering .650 (15-2-20) in the opening set and took a 1-0 lead with a 25-19 win. The Leopards broke open a close set in the early going with a 6-3 spurt which gave the Black & Gold a 13-7 lead after Mullen served an ace. Wentworth upped its lead to eight on four occasions, including at 20-12 after a Reed kill and 21-13 after a Reed ace. The Kingsmen scored two quick points to bring the score to 21-15 and trailed, 24-19, before a kill from Reed ended the set at 25-19.
The Leopards raced out to a 6-2 lead to start the second set, however Cal Lutheran countered with six of the next seven points to take an 8-7 lead. Using an 8-2 run, Wentworth took the lead for good at 15-10 thanks to a freshman Scott Skarzynski (Webster, N.Y.) kill. The Kingsmen closed the gap to 24-21 before Reed ended the set with a kill that gave the Black & Gold a 25-21 win.
A tightly contested third set saw the Kingsmen take a 14-13 lead after a service ace. The teams battled through nine ties from that point and, after a block, Cal Lutheran took a 23-22 lead. Reed recorded a kill and then promptly served an ace to make it 24-23 and then Ritter and Potts ended the match when they combined for a block.
Reed finished the match with 13 kills and hit .632 (13-1-19) to go along with two aces and a block. Potts had nine kills, hit .615 (9-1-13), and had three blocks. Senior Mike Hansen (Rochester, N.Y.) had five kills and three blocks. Mullen had five kills and three aces, and Skarzynski had five kills and four blocks, and Ritter had 33 assists and three blocks. As a team the Black & Gold hit .468.
Wentworth will play second-ranked UC-Santa Cruz on Saturday morning before concluding the trip with an exhibition match against Moorpark College.
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