BOSTON, Mass. – The Wentworth Institute of Technology downed Mount Ida and Johnson & Wales in straight sets in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tri-match Saturday afternoon inside Tansey Gymnasium. The Leopards, who honored their four graduating seniors prior to the Johnson & Wales match improve to 21-9 overall and 11-2 in the GNAC with one conference game remaining this season. With the split, Johnson & Wales shifts to 14-13 overall and 6-4 in conference play, while Mount Ida drops to 12-17 and 0-10 against league opponents.
MATCH ONE – WIT: 3 IDA: 0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-17)
The Leopards hit above .300 in all three sets, highlighted by .524 hitting from senior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.). Both teams went back and forth before freshman Kevin Devine (Charlotte, Vt.) smacked a kill off the hands of Augusto Rodriquez-Guerrios (Guaynabo, P.R.) for the 8-8 score. Three unanswered points from Wentworth forced an Ida timeout, as the hosts built an 11-8 lead. Mount Ida turned a 6-3 run of their own, as the set deadlocked 14-14 after a missed swing from WIT. A pair of kills from junior Brett Southworth (Orange, Conn.) kept the Mustangs within two, 18-16, but the Leopards exploded for an 8-0 run – including back-to-back aces from sophomore Josh Jackson (Massillon, Ohio) to take the first set 25-17.
After a service error from Wentworth tied the second frame 12-12, the Leopards scored the next ten of 12 points – including three kills from Ritter and two from sophomore Ryan Love (Gaithersburg, Md.) – to hold a commanding 21-14 lead. Jackson served up another ace for the Leopards – his fourth of the set, leading the Leopards to the 25-16 set win.
Wentworth hit a match-high .444 in the last set, and broke a 14-14 tie with seven straight points, all of the serve of sophomore Scott Skarzynski (Webster, N.Y.), for the 21-14 lead. Ida rattled off a quick three points on two WIT miscues and an ace from sophomore Andre Foster (Davis, Calif.), but Wentworth closed the match on a 4-0 run, earning the victory on a final ace from Ritter.
Ritter led the Leopards with 13 kills and 16 assists, while Devine followed with eight kills and a .444 swinging percentage. Rodriquez-Guerrios dished out a match-high 21 assists and paced the defense with five digs.
For the Mustangs, Southworth and Venderhost recorded seven and six kills, respectively. Sophomore Kevin Keohane (Jefferson, N.J.) registered 15 assists, while freshman Isaac Reed (Keene, N.H.) hit the floor for seven digs.
MATCH TWO – JWU: 3 IDA: 0 (25-9, 25-14, 25-18)
JWU came flying out of the gates to open its portion of the tri, scoring seven straight points, highlighted by a trio of aces from sophomore Zach Turner (Coventry, R.I.). Ida broke the drought with two quick points for the 7-2 score, but the Wildcats used a 10-1 run and three aces from sophomore Sanjae Holloway (East Hartford, Conn.) for the 17-3 advantage. Junior Donovan Kelley (Encinitas, Calif.) and senior Matt LaVasseaur (Salem, N.H.) denied a swing from freshman Tyler Dorfman (West Hartford, Conn.), before a JWU attack error and a kill from Foster put the Mustangs at six points. JWU scored the final six of nine points, and finished with back-to-back aces from Turner (for five total in the set) to take the first frame 25-9.
JWU opened the second set with a 4-1 run, but Ida fought back and tied things up 4-4 on two JWU errors and a swing from junior Nate Gyampo (Providence, R.I.). JWU senior Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) started a 3-0 surge for JWU, as the Wildcats started to pull away, 7-4. The Mustangs again clawed back at the deficit, matching JWU's three points to pull within one, 10-9. With sophomore Michael Foglia on the serve, JWU built a six-point lead, forcing a Mustangs timeout, 15-9. A final 10-5 run from JWU sealed the second set 25-14, paced by two kills apiece from Chang and LaVasseur.
Mount Ida battled with JWU until the very end of the match, trailing by as little as two points, 18-16, after two Wildcat service errors. Junior Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) and Keohane traded back-to-back kills, but the Wildcats ended on a 6-1 run, including two kills from sophomore Matthew McCarthy (Millis, Mass.).
MATCH THREE – WIT: 3 JWU: 0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-21)
After four ties in the first set, Wentworth used a 4-0 spurt and three straight attack errors from JWU to build an 11-7 lead. The Wildcats would pull within two points 11-9, but the Leopards stayed ahead throughout the frame, and finished off on three straight points – with a kill apiece from Love and sophomore Ryan Engel (Floral Park, N.Y.).
Wentworth hit .379 in the second set, led by four kills from Ritter, as the home team jumped to a 3-0 lead. The Leopards held on to the 2-3 point gap throughout the set, and used a final swing from Engel for the narrow 25-21 set win. Roles reversed in the final set of the afternoon, as Turner and LaVasseur traded back-to-back kills for the 2-1 lead. Two attack errors from WIT granted the Wildcats the 4-2 advantage, but Wentworth fired back with five straight points to take the lead with a monster kill from junior Brian Drouse (Dallas, Pa,). The Leopards led by as much as six points, 13-7, before JWU pulled right back within two, 18-16 on a Wentworth serving error. After a kill from Turner, Ritter steered WIT to a 3-0 run, before the Leopards sealed the conference sweep with a big swing from sophomore Xhuljo Zyba (Holbrook, Mass.), who had four kills in the frame.
Ritter finished registered his sixth triple-double of the season, and finished with 13 kills, 19 assists, and 11 digs. Zyba rounded out double-digit offense with 10 digs, hitting .444 in the match, while Engel was just behind with seven kills. Rodriquez-Geurrios served up another match-high 22 assists and played a strong defensive match with eight digs.
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