Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball delivered a three-set sweep of visiting City College of New York (CCNY) in the Blazers' 2016 home opener at Picknelly Arena Tuesday night. With the win, the Blazers improve to 3-2 on the year, while the Beavers drop to 0-2 overall.
In the first set, the Blazers raced to an 11-1 lead, capitalizing on six errors by CCNY, including a trio of solo blocks from Elms sophomore Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Blazers sophomore Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) notched a pair of blocks and a pair of service aces to extend the Elms advantage to 19-6. Leading 23-12, the Blazers closed the set behind kills from Bondarovsky and junior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) to seal the 25-13 win.
The Beavers rallied in the second set, grabbing an early 8-4 lead after a service ace from freshman Edmund He (Queens, N.Y.). The Blazers trimmed the deficit on kills from Reis Levy and Dimanche, followed by a run from senior Angel Castro (Carolina, Puerto Rico) at the service line, featuring two aces, to pull the Blazers within two points, 14-12. Reis Levy tallied two more kills and a service ace from Bondarovsky knotted the match at 15-15. The teams exchanged points and then Beavers error and a Castro kill put Elms up 22-20. A kill from Reis Levy made it 24-22, and then CCNY freshman Sebastjano Aga (Tirana) set his serve into the net, giving the Blazers the 25-23 victory.
Back-to-back kills from Reis Levy handed the Blazers a 6-3 lead in the third set. The Beavers pushed back on Elms errors and a kill from sophomore David Cham (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made it an 8-7 match. Castro delivered a pair of kills for the Blazers, followed by four straight errors by CCNY to regain a 15-11 lead for Elms. The Beavers used kills from Aga and freshman Edmund He (Queens, N.Y.) to pull within four points, but the Blazers kept CCNY at bay on a pair of kills from junior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) as Elms closed the sweep with a 25-16 win.
"It's nice when we can get a win in our home opener," said Elms Heach Coach Sheila Gisbrecht. "We were able to get all of our players playing time tonight, and our fans got to see what the team has in store for this season. Our serve receive has been better than I expected to start the season, and we are being very aggressive on running our offense. This group has worked really hard to build some comradery before we started the season, they spent time to build those relationships in the fall, and we continued it through the preseason. I think there's a lot of chemistry to still be developed, but I think we have a good base to start with. We need to improve on our defense moving forward, and getting the ball to where the setter can continue the rally. We need to be able to maintain our intensity, when we are on and flowing, we are hard to stop, but when we start to lose that focus and intensity, it can come back to bite us."
The Blazers were powered by a match-high nine kills from Reis Levy. Reis Levy added a match-high seven digs, while Castro recorded six kills and five service aces. Bondarovsky had seven digs with three blocks and three kills, and Dimanche added five kills. Freshman John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) totaled 24 assists in the win.
Aga paced the Beavers with a team-high six kills with three digs. He chipped in five kills with a match-high seven digs, while sophomore Oleksandr Boychuk (Flushing, N.Y.) dished out 15 assists with four digs.
The Blazers will return to action this weekend at the Keuka College Tournament, facing host Keuka Friday night at 7:00 p.m. The Beavers host Purchase February 4th at 7:00 p.m.