Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball team dropped a pair of matches during a tri-match at Picknelly Arena Saturday afternoon. In New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action, the Blazers fell to visiting Daniel Webster College, 3-0, and then lost a five-set thriller against Bard College in the nightcap. Daniel Webster defeated Bard, 3-0, in non-conference play. Elms drops to 10-13 on the season, while Daniel Webster sits at 14-9, and Bard owns 6-13 mark. The Blazers are 2-6 in the NECC, while the Eagles improve to 7-1 in league play.
Match 1: Daniel Webster 3, Elms 0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-17)
The Eagles capitalized on Blazer errors to capture an early 6-0 lead in the first set. Elms got on the board with a pair of kills from sophomore Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), but Daniel Webster built a 14-3 lead behind strikes from freshman Saunoa Afoa (Las Vegas, Nev.) and senior Darrien Mason (Farmington, Conn.).The Blazers trimmed at the deficit and two kills from senior Angel Castro (Carolina, Puerto Rico) made it a 20-10 contest. The Blazers outscored Daniel Webster down the stretch but the Eagles collected the 25-17 win.
In the second set, a pair of kills from DWC senior Ryan Howdeshell (Fairbanks, Alaska) helped the Eagles to 5-1 lead. The Blazers responded behind attacks from Bondarovsky and Castro to cut the lead to 7-5. The Eagle created separation with a 9-3 run, capped by a slam from freshman Richmond Iturralde Zavalza (Tucson, Ariz.) to possess a 16-8 lead. Elms sophomore Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Zavalza traded kills to make it 21-10. The Eagles took advantage of three Blazers errors in the final points to take the 25-15 win.
Back-and-forth play was featured during most of the third set, with the squads no more than two points of separation and a kill from Elms junior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) knotted the set at 8-8. The Eagles regained the lead for good on as Howdeshell racked up three kills to put DWC ahead 12-10. A kill from Castro kept the Blazers close, 15-13, but Daniel Webster wrapped the match strong, outscoring the Blazers 10-5, powered by four kills from Afoa to secure the 25-17 win.
The Eagles were powered by 12 kills apiece from Afoa and Howdeshell, while Makaiwi and Zavalza added five each. Makaiwi grabbed a match-high 13 digs with a match-high 26 assists, while his Elms counterpart freshman John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) totaled 25 assists and six digs. Castro led the Blazers attack with 10 kills, while Reis Levy had seven and Bondarovsky tallied six.
Match 2: Daniel Webster 3, Bard 0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-20)
The Eagles led wire-to-wire in the first set, jumping to a 6-2 lead over Bard. The teams exchanged points until three straight errors by the Raptors handed the Eagles an 11-5 lead. Leading 11-6, Daniel Webster pulled away with a 8-2 run, featuring a pair of kills from Mason to stake the Eagles to a 19-8 lead. DWC outscored Bard, 6-3, to close out the 25-11 win.
The Eagles took a 4-0 lead to open the second set, but Bard battled back and a kill from senior Jesse Small (Brookline, Mass.) tied the game at 5-5. Daniel Webster regained control with an 8-2 run, fueled by six kills from junior Tommy Reyes (Providence, R.I.), to take a 13-7 lead. A pair of kills from Zavalza sandwiched Bard errors to push the Eagles advantage to 21-9. Bard netted three straight points, but the Eagles put away the 25-15 win on a kill from Makaiwi.
In the third set, Bard started out on top with a kills from Small putting the Raptors ahead 5-4. Tied at 7-7, the Eagles pulled ahead on a back-to-back kills from Howdeshell to grab a 9-7 lead, which they wouldn't relinquish. Bard knotted the match at 11-11, but the Eagles maintained control with a 6-1 run, featuring kills from Afoa and Reyes, to hold a 17-12 advantage. The Raptors cut the gap to 17-14, but a quick 4-1 spurt kept the Raptors at bay as Daniel Webster went on to the 25-20 win.
Match 3: Bard 3, Elms 2 (25-22, 17-25, 27-25, 24-26, 15-11)
No more than four points separated the two team during the first set of action. Elms grabbed a 3-1 lead but the Raptors rebounded on back-to-back service aces from sophomore Stefan Briggs (San Francisco, Calif.) to even it at 3-3. The Blazers continued to hold an advantage but a kill from Small pushed momentum to Bard's favor at 12-11. Bard used kills from juniors Shane McDonald (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Alex Adams (Fire Island, N.Y.) to stay ahead, but Elms junior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) delivered a kill to tie the set at 15-15. The Raptors created separation with a 5-1 run to gain a 20-16 lead. Leading 23-22, the Raptors locked up the 25-22 win with a big block from senior Troy Robertson (New Orleans, La.) and kill from McDonald.
Bard went ahead 6-3 early in the second set until the Blazers evened the score at 8-8 behind a 5-2 run. Tied at 12-12, Elms pulled away with a 9-2 run, powered by a pair of kills from Castro and back-to-back aces from Bondarovsky, to take a 21-14 lead. Bard added two points late but the Blazers wrapped up the 25-17 win on kills from junior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) and Crowe.
The third set was similar to the first with eight tied scores and four lead changes over the opening 14 points, putting the game at 9-9. The Raptors maintained an advantage over the Blazers behind kills from Adams and McDonald to pace Elms 16-14. Errors plagued Bard allowing the Blazers to battle back at grab an 18-17 lead. After back-to-back attack errors put Elms up 23-21, Adams and McDonald struck again to shift the momentum as the Raptors took a 27-25.
Consecutive kills from Adams jumped Bard to an 3-0 while the Raptors held the early edge over Elms. Reis Levy fired a kill and junior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) served up an ace to help Elms knot the game at 8-8. Five ties later put things at 13-13, and then a kill from Dimanche gave the Blazers their first lead, 14-13. Castro tallied a kill and an ace to extend the Elms lead to 17-15, but the Raptor stayed close and regained a 21-20 lead. Down 23-21, Elms used a kill from Bondarovsky and a clutch block from Castro to even the score at 23-23. A kill from Adams put Bard within a point of victory, but Castro closed the door with a kill, followed by back-to-back strike from Reis Levy to capture the 26-24 win and force a fifth set.
The Raptors never gave up the lead in the final set. Tied at 2-2, errors by Elms and kills from Adams and Robertson handed Bard a 6-3 lead. Elms responded to tie the set at 8-8 on a kill from Castro, but Bard took back possession behind three kills from Small to take a 13-9 lead, en route to the 15-11 win.
Castro and Reis Levy powered the Blazers offense with double-double efforts. Castro notched 14 and 11 digs, while Reis Levy logged 13 kills and 14 digs. Bondarovsky grabbed 14 digs and nine kills, and Crowe tallied eight kills and five blocks. Sophomore Kahlil Peters (Hartford, Conn.) racked up a career-high 25 assists with three digs and two kills.
Adams and Small led the Raptors with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Adams added nine digs and three blocks, while Robertson registered six kills and six blocks. Sophomore Tyler Zowaski (Darien, Ill.) snared a match-high 20 digs, while senior Kai Bernier-Chen (Kamuela, Hawaii) and junior Mahir Sheikh (Bronx, N.Y.) added 18 kills and six digs.
The Blazers will be back in action when they host Lesley in NECC play Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. Daniel Webster travels to Springfield College Saturday at Noon. Bard hosts Sarah Lawrence College Thursday at 7:00 p.m.