ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - The Elms College men's volleyball team fell in four sets, 3-1 (16-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-27) as host Bard College avenged an early season loss Thursday night.
Bard jumped out to a big early lead in the first set and cruised to a 25-16 victory. But the Blazers, led by 6-foot-6 freshman Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) who had nine kills, tied it up with a 25-22 win in the second set.
That's when things got interesting. Reis Levy went down early in the third set with a lower leg injury. Surprisingly, in spite of losing their best player, Elms turned up the intensity and made it a real battle the rest of the way.
Bard never trailed in the third set, but it was marked by long rallies and it got very tight at the end. Down 23-20, Elms scored three of the next four points, but Bard survived, 25-23, on a kill by Jesse Small.
In the fourth set, Elms' other gigantic freshman Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) tried and almost succeeded to will the Blazers into a fifth set by himself. He had 11 of his game-high 20 kills in the fourth set. Bard got up 5-0, Elms came back and tied it, and it went back and forth from there. It was tied at 22, 23, 24 and 25 before an Elms bad set, and a Mahir Sheikh ace gave Bard the victory, 27-25.
Bondarovsky finished with 20 kills and 21 digs. Reis Levy had 11 kills and six digs in just over two sets. Elms is 2-13.
Bard (6-13) got amazing performances all around. Small had 10 kills and five digs, and Alex Adams had nine kills, six digs and six blocks. Shane McDonald and Troy Robertson added seven and six kills, respectively, and Daniel Gagne had 12 digs.
But the night belonged to a trio of freshmen. Stefan Briggs had a career-high nine kills. Tyler Zowaski had 17 digs. Joseph Stier had six kills (.400), 35 assists, 17 digs, three aces and four blocks - the possibility of a triple-double existed if the match went to a fifth set. Not since Bard assistant coach Henry Kasiske was a freshman in 2010 has a first year player had the kind of night Stier had on Thursday.
The Raptors, who have won three of their last four, have the weekend off. They next play at Sarah Lawrence College on Wednesday night at 7.