SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The No. 13 Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team split a pair of matches with St. Joseph's Long Island and No. 1 Springfield College on Saturday evening inside Blake Arena.
Wentworth shifts to 9-4 overall, while Springfield improves to 13-1 with the pair of wins. St. Joseph's drops to 7-5 with the two losses.
MATCH ONE: Wentworth 3, St. Joseph's L.I. 0 (27-25, 25-20, 25-22)
The Leopards and Golden Flyers went the distance from the start, as both teams forced extra points in the first set. Wentworth overcame a five-point deficit (20-15), with a 5-1 run, including two kills from sophomore Xhuljo Zyba (Holbrook, Mass.) and a blast from senior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.). The surge forced a Golden Eagles' timeout, as sophomore Will Flohr (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) came out of the break with a kill to hold a two-point advantage 22-20. Wentworth battled back as Oshman tied the score 22-22 with a kill off the set from teammate Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills ,Mass.), before the set witnessed three more deadlocks until Ritter set the Leopards up for match point, 26-25.
Wentworth hit .469 in the middle set, and jumped to a quick 10-4 lead after a kill from senior Ryan Engel (Floral Park, N.Y.). The Leopards stayed out front for the set's remainder, despite a 5-3 run from St. Joseph's to pull within three, 19-16, on a service ace from Paul Curaro (Holbrook, N.Y.). The Leopards rode momentum into the final set with the Golden Eagles, as Engel held service for three straight points to open, thanks for a kill apiece from Oshman and Ritter. Wentworth doubled its lead on two separate occasions, 6-3 and 8-4, before an Engel kill pushed the lead to five, 9-4. The Golden Eagles rattled off three straight points to pull within two, 9-7, but Wentworth stayed out front thanks to three kills from sophomore Ryan Love (Gaithersburg, Md.) for the 18-14 lead. Curaro took the service line and blasted two kills next to a kill from teammate Flohr, and tied the set 19-19, forcing a Leopards timeout. Out of the break, Engel swung into consecutive kills to keep the score in favor of Wentworth, leading up to a final kill from Zyba to seal the set 25-22.
Zyba led the Leopard attack with a career-high 12 kills on 21 swings and just three errors for a .429 hitting percentage. Engel finished with eight kills on 12 attempts and not a single error for a .667 percentage while adding seven digs, while Ritter dished out 25 assists with eight kills and seven digs. Love also finished with eight kills, while freshman libero Peter Klembczyk (Penfield, N.Y.) led the team in digs with ten.
MATCH TWO: No. 1 Springfield 3, No. 13 Wentworth 0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-15)
The No. 1 Pride downed Wentworth in three sets in the Leopards' first match against a nationally ranked opponent since their home opener against NYU on January 27. The Pride hit above .500 in all three sets, including .562 percentage hitting in the first set with only two errors. Wentworth hung with Springfield in the second set, hitting .208 in the frame. The Leopards battled point-for-point with the Pride, before Love tied the set for the eleventh time, 11-11. Springfield rattled off four straight points to gain a 15-11 advantage, and stayed out front for the remainder of the set, despite Engel pulling Wentworth within two, 20-18. Springfield then scored the final five of seven points, before downing the Leopards by ten in the final set for its 13th straight victory.
Ritter paced the Leopards with six kills, while Zyba was next-best with five kills. Oshman finished with four kills on eight swings for a .375 percentage, and added three blocks for six points overall.
For the latest on Wentworth Athletics, follow the Leopards via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Wentworth Leopards "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.