BOSTON, Mass. – In a 2018 Championship rematch, the Rivier University men's volleyball team prevailed over the Wentworth Institute of Technology in straight sets (25-18, 25-23, 28-26) on Saturday evening inside Muldoon Gymnasium.
The Raiders jumped to a 9-2 lead in the first set, using a trio of kills from Khayen Yocca, and doubled up on the Leopards 10-5 despite three straight points from the Leopards – including two solo blocks from sophomore David Marsh (Springfield, Mass.). Rivier grabbed a seven-point lead – its largest of the set – at 21-14, following a Wentworth timeout and a kill from David Smith. The two teams swapped closing points, with Rivier getting to 25 first on a final kill from Smith.
In the second set, Wentworth took charge early, racing to a 3-0 lead with two blocks from Xhuljo Zyba (Holbrook, Mass.). Rivier answered Wentworth's single point with four of their own to tie things up 4-4, but Wentworth rattled off five straight points with freshman Ian Calrson (Parker, Colo.) on the serve, who swung into two aces in the spurt. A kill from junior Ryan Engel (Floral Park, N.Y.) kept the double-up lead, 10-5, as a 5-2 run gave Wentworth its largest lead of the set, 15-8. The host Raiders – ranked at #13 on the national caliber – then staged a valiant comeback and regained the lead on the heels of a 10-2 run. Smith swung into an ace that just stayed in bounds within inches, taking a 19-17 lead. The Leopards pulled within one on a Smith service error, but were handed the set loss with a final 6-2 run.
Down but not out, Wentworth hit .303 in the final set as a 6-2 start forced the host Raiders to burn an early timeout. The Raiders committed two straight errors to give Wentworth an 8-2 advantage, but the comeback Raiders fueled by an electric crowd inside Muldoon went on an 8-2 run, as a Smith kill tied the set 10-10. Wentworth stayed out front as Engel gave the Black & Gold a two-point cushion, and later built a three-point lead 17-14. It didn't take long for Rivier to tie the set up again at 18-18, where both teams answered one another in the closing points, neither able to capitalize on match-point. Smith wound up for the final kill as the Raiders led 27-26, for the 28-26 final.
Love notched a match-high 13 kills, and joined sophomore Peter Klembczyk (Penfield, N.Y.) on the All-Tournament Team. Engel notched nine kills on .375 hitting, while Marsh jumped up for five solo blocks, which ranks third all-time in the Wentworth men's volleyball record books.
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.