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Men's Volleyball Falls to Rivier in GNAC Title Match

Men's Volleyball Falls to Rivier in GNAC Title Match

NASHUA, N.H. – Tournament Most Outstanding Player Garrett Bucklin (Jamestown, R.I.) recorded 39 assists and four blocks to help the top-seeded Rivier University men's volleyball team win the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship with a 3-0 win over second-seeded Wentworth Institute of Technology.

The Raiders, who captured their first GNAC title since the 2014 season, improve to 26-6 and find out their opponent in the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Tournament on Monday at 10:00 a.m. The Leopards, who had won the previous two GNAC titles, end their season at 22-11.

Wentworth took a 3-0 lead in the opening set after a kill from sophomore Xhuljo Zyba (Holbrook, Mass.), and ace from sophomore Ryan Engel (Floral Park, N.Y.), and a kill from senior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.). Rivier came back to tie the set at 3-all, thanks in part to a pair of Leopard errors and the teams matched nearly point for point until Wentworth tied the set at 11-all on a service error. The Raiders scored the next four points to take their largest lead at 15-11 on a kill from sophomore David Smith (Clinton, Ohio). The four-point edge was matched at 17-13 after a Wentworth attack error, however, an Engel kill capped off a 7-3 spurt and evened the set at 20-all. River responded with five straight points and took a 1-0 lead with a 25-20 win.

After six ties early in the second set, Wentworth found itself trailing, 13-9. the Leopards battled back to come within a point at 21-20 after Engel served an ace. Rivier extended its lead to 23-20 after a service error and a kill from Smith, however, the Leopards came back within two points at 24-22 on a Raider service error. A Smith kill gave the hosts a 2-0 lead with a 25-22 win.

The third set featured 18 ties and three lead changes as neither team was able to carry a lead of more than three points at any time during the set. The three-point lead went to Wentworth to start the set on kills from Oshman, Zyba, and sophomore Ryan Love (Gaithersburg, Md.). A pair of junior Dashaun Graham (Highland Falls, N.Y.) kills and a sophomore Cam Roth (Coventry, R.I.) ace tied the score at 3-all and the teams went back and forth until a junior Khaynen Yocca (Pittsburgh, Pa.) kill made it 19-17. Scoring four of the next five points, Wentworth took a 21-20 lead. Senior Grant Andler (Chicago, Ill.) answered with a kill to tie the set at 21-all. The teams traded points, including when Oshman staved off match point by throwing down a kill to even the score at 25-all, however, a service error and a kill from Yocca gave Rivier the championship, 27-25.

Andler finished with 15 kills and hit .500 (15-2-26) while Smith had nine kills and two aces. Graham had eight kills and five blocks, Yocca added seven kills, and Roth had 15 digs.

Oshman hit .652 for the match as, in his final appearance in a Leopard uniform, he had 16 kills with just one error on 23 swings. He also had a pair of blocks. Engel had nine kills, two aces, and eight digs, while Ritter, in his final Leopard appearance had eight kills, 10 digs, and 23 assists and ends his career with a program-best 3,563 helpers. Love had six kills, freshman Peter Klembczyk (Penfield, N.Y.) had 10 digs, and sophomore Augusto Rodriguez-Guerrios (Guaynabo, P.R.) had 18 assists.

Oshman and Ritter each earned a spot on the all-tournament team

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