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Back-to-Back: Men's Volleyball Captures Second Straight GNAC Title

The 2017 GNAC Champions!
The 2017 GNAC Champions!

BOSTON, Mass. – Tournament most valuable player Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) had 20 kills, hit .364, served five aces, had five digs, and became the program's all-time kill leader as the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team captured its second straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship with a 3-2 win over Lasell Saturday afternoon at Tansey Gymnasium.

With the win the Leopards improve to 27-6, tying both the program record for wins in a season and consecutive wins (10) and earn a berth into the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Tournament which commences on Saturday, April 22. The Lasers stand at 29-6 and await a possible at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The tournament field will be announced on Monday at 10:00 a.m.

Wentworth jumped out to a 9-6 lead in the opening set after a kill from junior Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.). Lasell scored the next two points before a blocking error gave the hosts a 10-8 lead. The Leopards extended their lead to 15-11 using a pair of senior Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) aces during the spurt. The Lasers scored the next three points, including on a kill from senior Jeffrey Vautrin (Chicopee, Mass.) who would also serve an ace to make it 15-14. Wentworth scored the next three points, capped off by a block from senior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) and junior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) however, Lasell went on a 6-1 run and took a 21-19 lead on a senior Patrick MacDonald (Floral Park, N.Y.) kill. Trailing 24-23, Mullen served an ace to keep the set alive but Lasell took a 28-26 win after back-to-back errors for the Leopards. Vautrin had six kills in the opening set for the Lasers while Reed had four for Wentworth.

The second set opened with Wentworth scoring the first four points and extended its lead to 6-1 on a service ace from Reed. The Leopards lead swelled to 9-2 after a ball handling error. Wentworth continued to maintain a seven-point cushion before taking a 20-10 lead after junior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.) and Mullen teamed up for a block. An Oshman kill made it 23-13 however Lasell scored the next five points, capped off by a kill from freshman Janci Soto (Lawrence, Mass.). A service error and an ace from Reed closed out the set, 25-18 and evened the match at a set apiece. Ritter had three kills on three swings while Mullen had three kills and two blocks in the set for Wentworth and Soto was a perfect 4-0-4 for Lasell.

Roat opened the third set with back-to-back kills and Wentworth extended its lead to 5-2 on a kill from Reed. Lasell closed the gap to 7-6 on kills from Vautrin and MacDonald, however a kill from Roat made it 8-6 and the Black & Gold extended their lead to 12-7 after a Ritter block which forced the lasers to call time out. Out of the time out, Reed served back-to-back aces and Wentworth extended its lead to 15-7 after a kill from Roat. The Lasers scored four of the next five points to make it 16-11 after a setting error. Lasell cut the deficit to 18-14 after Vautrin, senior Tristan Davis (Rochester, N.Y.), and sophomore Saunoa Afoa (Las Vegas, Nev.), forcing Wentworth into a time out. Out of the time out, an attack error made it 18-15, however Mullen ended the run with a kill. After Wentworth built the lead back to five, the Lasers scored four straight points to make it 20-19. A kill from Reed and an attack error would bump the score to 23-20 and Reed's 13th kill of the match – giving him 1,253 career kills – made it 25-21. Reed finished the set with eight kills on 15 swings without making an error. Vautrin had six kills in the set for Lasell.

Lasell opened the fourth set by scoring four of the first five points before a Mullen kill made it 4-2. Back-to-back errors made it 6-2 in favor of the Lasers, however Wentworth stormed back with three straight points and came within one at 6-5 on a Mullen kill. The Lasers countered with four straight points, capped off by a block from Afoa and sophomore Andy Henriquez (Lawrence, Mass.) for force the Leopards to call timeout at 10-5. Out of the time out Lasell scored the next two points to extend its run to 6-0, but Mullen ended the run with a kill. The Lasers upped their lead to 15-6 after a pair of Wentworth errors and built a 10-point lead after a Vautrin kill. Wentworth brought the lead down to single digits twice, however Lasell scored six of the final seven points and forced a deciding set with a 25-11 win on an Afoa kill. Vautrin had four kills in the set for Lasell while Roat and Mullen had three apiece for the Leopards.

The deciding set saw the teams trade the first eight points before Lasell took a 5-4 lead on a Davis kill. Wentworth answered with three straight points with Reed recording a kill and Mullen serving back-to-back aces. Henriquez and Afoa ended the run after combing for a block and Oshman slammed a kill home to make it 8-6 at the changeover. The teams traded errors before a Reed kill made it 10-7. A MacDonald kill closed the gap to 10-8 before a service error and a Roat ace made it 12-8. Roat served three straight aces to make it 14-8 and a Potts kill ended the match.

In addition to Reed's 20 kills, Roat finished with 13 kills, served three aces, and had 10 digs and Mullen had 11 kills, five aces, 12 digs, and three blocks. Oshman finished with six kills and did not make an error on 12 swings while also recording three blocks. Potts had five kills and four blocks, Ritter had 47 assists, eight digs, and three blocks, and senior Mike Rogachefsky (Rochester, N.Y.) had 16 digs. Reed now has 1,260 career kills, surpassing Ross Burdett's 1,252, set from 2011-2014.

Vautrin finished with 17 kills, three aces, and nine digs, MacDonald had 10 kills, nine digs, and two blocks, Afoa had nine kills and two blocks, Davis had eight kills and two aces, and Soto had seven kills and four blocks. Henriquez had 42 assists and four blocks while sophomore Jordan Aprea (Newington, Conn.) had 14 digs.

Joining Reed on the all-tournament team were Mullen and Ritter from Wentworth, MacDonald and Vautrin from Lasell, Tyler Blank (Rivier), and Kyle MacKnight (Johnson & Wales).

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