NASHUA, N.H. – The Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team split a pair of Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) matches between Regis and Rivier University on Saturday afternoon. The Leopards suffer their first conference loss since February 8th, which also came at the hands of River, and dip to 19-8 and 9-2 in league play. Rivier remains untouched against league opponents at 9-0, and climbs to 18-6 overall, while the Pride drop to 6-11 this season and 1-6 in the GNAC.
GAME ONE – Wentworth 3 Regis 1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-19, 25-11)
The Leopards opened the tri-match hitting a blistering .538 to take the first set from the Pride, before Regis answered back with .207 hitting to tie the match 1-1. In the third frame, sophomore Ryan Engel (Floral Park, N.Y.) put down a kill off the hands of senior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) for the 9-8 lead, which carried Wentworth into a 6-2 run – including a trio of kills from junior Jesse Lefler (Rochester, N.Y.). The Pride were down but not out, and battled back and turned a 9-4 run of their own, tying the score at 19-19. After a service error from the Pride, Engel stepped to the service line and steered Wentworth to five straight points, in part to two kills from sophomore Ryan Love (Gaithersburg, Md.), to prevent a comeback from Regis.
The Leopards closed the match with Regis just as they started it, and hit .632 making just one error on 19 swings. Love doubled up on the Pride, 10-5, as Wentworth sustained the double-digit lead after a kill from Ritter for the 20-10 score. The Leopards scored the final five of six points to seal the match victory, highlighted by two kills and a service ace from Ritter.
Ritter hit .444 with 18 kills and just two errors on 36 swings, and served up 21 assists with five blocks. (3 BA, 2 BS). Love and Engel rounded out double-digit performances with 12 kills apiece, while freshman libero Peter Klembczyk (Penfield, N.Y.) held down the defense with 15 digs.
Wentworth battled with the hosts early in the first set, and pulled within one late in the frame, 20-19, after a kill from senior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.). Both teams went point-for-point for the 20-21 score, but the Raiders went on a 4-2 spurt to escape with the three-point set win. The Raiders carried momentum into the second set, and jumped to an early 8-3 lead, forcing Wentworth to burn a timeout. Rivier was unfazed by the break, and exploded for a 9-4 run for the 17-6 advantage. Wentworth turned a 5-3 run of its own, but the Raiders' gap proved to be too tough to overcome, as Rivier put away the final five of six points. The Raiders closed out the match and the straight sweep of both opponents hitting .375, despite Wentworth pulling with four points at the end of the final frame.
Rivier limited Wentworth to 30 team kills, as no Leopard reached double-digits on the scoresheet. Sophomore Xhuljo Zyba (Holbrook, Mass.) led the Leopard attack with eight kills, while Ritter finished with seven kills and 17 assists, sharing setter duties with sophomore Augusto Rodgriquez-Guerrios (Guaynabo, P.R.) who added 12 helpers.
Wentworth returns home to Tansey Gymnasium on Tuesday at 7:00 pm for the first time since March 2 when it hosts Cal Lutheran in a non-conference tilt.
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