Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
QUINCY, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball team opened the 2017 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) season off with a four-set victory over host Eastern Nazarene College, 3-1 (25-15, 25-18, 20-25, 25-12), at the Lahue Physical Education Center Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Blazers rise to 3-2 on the season, and 1-0 in conference play, while Eastern Nazarene drops to 1-1 in the NECC, and 1-1 overall.
In the first set, the sides traded points until kills from freshman David Hernandez (Springfield, Mass.) and junior Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) handed Elms a 7-4 lead. The Blazers capitalized on Lions errors, followed by a double block from senior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) and junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), to extend the lead to 13-7. Kills from Bondarovsky sandwiched a 5-1 run by Elms to push the advantage to 18-8, but the Lions used kills from senior Colin Fischer (Lansdale, Pa.) to cut the deficit to 22-14. The Blazers wrapped up the 25-15 win behind strikes from sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) and Bondarovsky.
The Blazers jumped to a 5-2 lead in the second set, followed by four kills from Crowe to grab a 10-8 advantage. Errors by Eastern Nazarene put Elms ahead 17-14, but the Lions used a pair of kills from freshman Derek Fowler (Williamstown, N.J.) and an ace from freshman Andrew Jayne (Quincy, Mass.) to even the match at 17-17. The Blazers closed the set strong with an 8-1 run, featuring kills from junior Kahlil Peters (Hartford, Conn.), Crowe, and senior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.), to capture the 25-18 win.
The Lions rebounded in the third set, grabbing an 8-6 lead on four kills from Fowler. Eastern Nazarene junior Kenny Sorensen (Quincy, Mass.) tallied three kills to push the lead to 12-8, but errors by the Lions helped Elms trim the gap to 13-12. Eastern Nazarene used kills from junior Andrew Shaw (Weymouth, Mass.) and Fischer to maintain their edge, followed by strikes from Sorensen and Fowler and errors by Elms to secure the 25-20 win.
Trailing 5-2 in the fourth set, Bondarovsky fueled a Blazers comeback with a kill and three straight service aces to put Elms ahead 7-5. Following an error, the Blazers powered to a 13-0 run, paced by four kills from Reis Levy, to power to a 20-6 lead. The Lions scored four late points, but a pair of kills from Bondarovsky locked up the 25-12 win and the 3-1 match victory.
The Blazers delivered a balanced attack, featuring seven-kill efforts from Bondarovsky, Reis Levy, DeCosmo and Crowe. Dunphy and Peters dished out 15 assists apiece, while freshman Audrye Alejandro (Las Piedras, P.R.) snared a team-high 11 digs.
Fowler powered the Lions with a match-high 12 kills and three blocks. Sorensen notched a double-double with a match-high 14 digs and 10 kills. Eastern Nazarene junior Matthew Tyree (Lansdale, Pa.) dished out a match-high 26 assists.
The Blazers will travel to Stevens for a non-conference match Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Nazarene hosts Lesley University in NECC play Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.