Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball team wrapped up the regular season with a three-set sweep of host Lesley University in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at the Nicholas Athletic Center Tuesday night. The Blazers improved to 12-14 on the season, and 4-6 in conference play, while Lesley falls to 0-8 in the league, and 0-16 overall.
In the first set, play was back-and-forth to open play until a Blazers block and Lynx error handed Elms a 7-4 lead. The Lynx trimmed the deficit to 8-7 on a kill from junior Tyler Burns (Newtown, Pa.), but the Blazers answered with a slam from senior Jamaal Gary (Bloomfield, Conn.) to make it 10-7. Elms maintained their advantage behind a pair of kills from Gary and a strike from junior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) to build a 17-14 lead. Lesley rallied back with two kills from junior Jason Hulteen (Galena, Ohio), followed by a pair of errors by the Blazers, to pull within a point, 21-20. Elms closed out the victory as senior Angel Castro (Carolina, Puerto Rico) tallied three kills to lock up the 25-23 win.
The Blazers jumped to a 41- lead in the second set on kills from sophomore Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and a service ace from freshman Jequan Rogers (Springfield, Mass.). Lesley responded with a 7-2 run, featuring two kills from senior Chris Barletta (Valrico, Fla.), to take an 8-6 lead. The Blazers regained a 10-8 lead with four unanswered points. Tied at 13-13, the Blazers built a 17-14 advantage, but a 6-2 run by the Lynx put Lesley ahead 20-19. Back-to-back kills from junior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) and Bondarovsky gave Elms a 20-19 lead, but kills from Burns and Barletta handed the Lynx a 21-20 advantage. Elms rattled off four straight points, capped off by kills from Castro and Bondarovsky, to claim the 25-21 win.
Elms grabbed a 5-1 lead in the final set on another ace from Rogers. The Blazers kept the Lynx at bay, outscoring Lesley, 8-5, to possess a 13-6 lead. The Lynx cut into the deficit with a 4-0 streak, featuring aces from Burns, followed by kills from Barletta to make it a 15-14 game. Gary and Lesley junior Jacob DiDomenico (N. Providence, R.I.) traded solo blocks to put the score at 18-16. Bondarovsky knocked a pair of kills to push the Blazers lead to 22-19. Elms wrapped up the 25-19 win with an ace from Rogers and a kill from Dimanche.
Castro led the Blazers attack with a match-high 13 kills and five digs. Bondarovsky logged a double-double with 12 kills and a match-high 12 digs, while Gary slammed a career-high seven kills with two blocks. Sophomore Kahlil Peters (Hartford, Conn.) dished out a career-high 33 assists with four digs, while junior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) grabbed nine digs in the win.
Lesley was paced by nine-kill efforts from Burns and Barletta. Burns added eight digs and three aces, while Barletta had five digs. DiDomenico tallied six kills and a match-high seven blocks, and sophomore Karuna Chiemruom (Cranston, R.I.) totaled 21 assists.
The Blazers will return to action in the NECC Championship Tournament Friday, April 8th at the site of the top-seed in the tournament. Lesley travels to Newbury for an NECC match Thursday at 7:00 p.m.