Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball battled visiting Fontbonne University in a five-set defeat in non-conference action at Picknelly Arena Thursday night. The Blazers move to 11-14 on the season, while Fontbonne improved to 13-9 overall.
In the first set, the Blazers jumped to an early 6-1 lead with four kills, including a pair from sophomore Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). After a kill from Castro pushed the Elms lead to 10-1, the Griffins outscored the Blazers, 5-4, to trim the deficit and then a pair of kills from sophomore Stephen Lendy (Chicago, Ill.) to make it a 16-10 game. The Blazers maintained their lead as sophomore Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Bondarovsky delivered two kills each to hand Elms a 20-13 advantage. The Blazers closed out the 25-17 win behind kills from Reis Levy, Castro and freshman John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.).
The Griffins capitalized on Blazers errors to build a 7-3 lead in the second set. A kill from Bondarovsky trimmed the deficit to 8-7, but Fontbonne rattled off five straight points to gain a 12-7 lead. The Griffins used a 6-4 run, featuring a pair of kills from Leddy, to make it an 18-11 contest. Elms used back-to-back kills from Bondarovsky to cut the advantage to 18-13, but the Griffins kept the Blazers at bay, and locked up the 25-16 win on kills from Lendy.
The third set was tight out of the gates with the squads trading the lead three times and tying twice. A pair of kills from Reis Levy put the Blazers up 11-8, followed by a kill from Castro to make it 13-10. The Blazers suffered from an illegal substitution which resulted in a three point swing in favor of the Griffins, giving Fontbonne a 16-13 lead. A 4-1 run by the Griffins, featuring three Elms errors, made it 20-14. Kills from Reis Levy trimmed it to 22-17, but the Griffins claimed the 25-17 win.
The four set proved to be a battle between the squads with no more than two points separating the teams. The sides exchanged the lead six times and tying ten times over the opening 24 points to sit at 12-12. The Blazers used a kill from junior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) put Elms up 14-13, but errors regained a 16-14 lead for Fontbonne. A kill from Reis Levy leveled the score at 17-17, and then Reis Levy would add an ace to put Elms up 21-20. Tied at 22-22, Elms sat a point shy of victory on kills from Bondarovsky and Castro, but the Griffins held on a kill from freshman Brendon Schwartze (St. Louis, Mo.) and an ace from freshman Gabe Grote (St. Peters, Mo.) to put Fontbonne ahead 25-24. The Blazers added kills from Castro, Reis Levy, and junior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) to possess a 27-26 lead. After an error knotted the set at 27-27, the Blazers forced a fifth set behind kills from Reis Levy and Bondarovsky.
The Griffins grabbed a 4-2 lead, but Elms evened things at 4-4 and an ace from Bondarovsky made it 5-4. Fontbonne took the lead for good with a strike from Schwartze, followed by a pair from Lendy to gain a 7-5 advantage. Kills from Reis Levy sandwiched a kill and block assist from Lendy to make it 10-8. Schwartze and sophomore Tony Pitaro (Las Vegas, Nev.) combined for a block to maintain a 13-9 lead. The Griffins wrapped up the win with kills from freshman TJ Vorva (Orland Park, Ill.) and Pitaro.
The Blazers had a trio of players reach double-digit kill totals, led by a career-high 21 kills from Reis Levy. Bondarovsky logged a double-double with 18 kills and a match-high 14 digs, while Castro notched a double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs. Dunphy racked up a career-high 62 assists in the win.
Lendy powered the Griffins attack with a team-high 18 kills, five digs and three service aces. Schwartze added 10 kills and two blocks. Vorva tallied eight kills, while sophomore Jacob Lendy (Chicago, Ill.) recorded 42 assists and four digs.
The Blazers will wrap up the regular season with a New England Collegiate Conference road trip to Lesley University Saturday for an 8:00 p.m. game. Fontbonne travels to Lesley for a non-conference tilt Friday at 8:00 p.m.