Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball team returned to the win column Thursday night, defeating visiting Mount Ida, 3-1 (25-11, 21-25, 25-15, 25-17), in a non-conference clash at Picknelly Arena.
The Blazers secured an early 5-2 lead in the first set, and extended their advantage to 14-5 on a 9-3 run, capped off by a pair of kills from freshman Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). The Mustangs struggled to maintain consistency on offense as the Blazers pushed their lead to 21-8 on a kill from Bondarovsky, as Elms took a 1-0 lead with a 25-11 win in the opening set.
In the second set, the Blazers grabbed a 5-3 lead, but the Mustangs rallied back with a 4-1 run to capture their first lead of the match, 7-6. A trio of service aces from Mount Ida junior James Ames (West Hartford, Conn.) gave the Mustangs an 11-7 advantage. The Blazers pulled within two, 12-10, but the Mustangs kept the Blazers at bay with a 5-2 run, taking a 17-11 lead. Elms battled back with a 5-1 run to make it an 18-16 contest. Back-to-back kills from Ames pushed the Mustangs lead to 22-16, en route to the 25-21 win to knot the match at 1-1.
The Blazers jumped to a 5-1 lead in the third set behind a pair of kills from freshman Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Elms extended their advantage to 8-3, but the Mustangs whittled their deficit to 10-6. The Blazers pulled away with a 7-3 run, capitalizing on four errors by the Mustangs. A pair of kills from Reis Levy moved the Blazers lead to 19-11. Elms picked up three kills down the stretch to secure the 25-15 win.
The squads traded the lead early in the fourth set with the Mustangs taking a 7-6 lead on a kill from junior Gylan Flemming (Cambridge, Mass.). The Blazers regained control at 10-9 on a kill from freshman Kahlil Peters (Hartford, Conn.), and pushed the lead to 14-9 behind a pair of kills from Bondarovsky. A kill from Ames trimmed the Mustangs deficit to 16-12, and Mount Ida pulled within three, 18-15, following an error by the Blazers. A pair of errors by the Mustangs gave the Blazers a cushion, and a kill from Bondarovsky gave Elms a 21-15 lead. Reis Levy notched two kills down the stretch, capped off by a kill from Bondarovsky to secure the 25-17 win in the final set.
Bondarovsky led the offensive charge for Elms, posting match-highs in kills (18) and digs (13), for his third double-double of the season. Reis Levy tallied 14 kills with nine digs, while senior Kevin Welsh (Wilbraham, Mass.) racked up a match-high 31 assists with five digs, two kills and two service aces.
The Mustangs were paced by Ames with a team-high 14 kills, six digs and four aces. Sophomore Peter Griffenkranz (Deer Park, N.Y.) added nine kills with 10 digs, while junior Michael McCullough (Southborough, Mass.) doles out 30 assists in the loss.
With the win, the Blazers improve to 3-13 on the season, while Mount Ida dropped to 5-13 overall. Elms returns to the court with a road trip to Southern Vermont for NECC action Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs will travel to Emmanuel for a GNAC matchup Tuesday, March 17th.