Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball squad fought past visiting Bard College in straight sets, 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-17), in a non-conference clash at Picknelly Arena Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Blazers improve to 5-4 overall, while Bard drops to 1-8 on the season.
In the first set, the Blazers pulled ahead 4-2 behind a pair of kills from junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), but the Raptors evened the match at 6-6 after a kill and block from freshman Tristan Kozul (South Kingstown, R.I.). Kills from senior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) and freshman David Hernandez (Springfield, Mass.) handed Elms an 11-8 lead, but another kill and block from Kozul gave the Raptors their first lead of the set, 14-13. The Blazers regained control with a 7-3 run, featuring strikes from sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) and junior Blake Fry (Natick, Mass.), to possess a 20-17 advantage. After a kill from Bard junior Tyler Zowaski (Darien, Ill.) trimmed the gap to 20-18, the Blazers closed the set with five consecutive points, powered by a trio of service aces from Dunphy, to wrap the 25-18 win.
A pair of kills from Bondarovsky helped the Blazers to a 5-0 lead to open the second set. The Blazers extended their advantage to 11-3 behind aces from Bondarovsky and Hernandez. Bard used strikes from Kozul and senior Shane McDonald (Los Angeles, Calif.) to close the deficit to 13-8, but kills from Hernandez and Fry helped maintain a 21-12 lead for Elms. Kills from Kozul sandwiched tallies from DeCosmo, Hernandez and Bondarovsky down the stretch as Elms captured the 25-16 win.
Trailing 2-1 in the third set, Elms senior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) delivered a pair of aces from the service line to regain a 4-2 lead for the Blazers. Elms maintained a slim margin behind strikes from Fry and DeCosmo, and then a kill from junior Kahlil Peters (Hartford, Conn.) gave the Blazers a 10-5 lead. Hernandez logged a trio of kill and Dunphy served an ace to push Elms ahead 16-8. The Raptors worked at the deficit, capitalizing on Blazers errors paired with kills from Kozul to cut the gap to 21-15. Elms halted the Raptors comeback with strikes from Peters, Bondarvosky, and DeCosmo to lock up the 25-17 win and three-set sweep.
Bondarovsky led the Blazers offense with a team-high eight kills, while DeCosmo and Hernandez chipped in seven kills apiece. Bondarovsky added four digs and three blocks, and Hernandez grabbed seven digs. Dunphy dished out a team-high 18 assists with a match-high four service aces, and freshman Audrye Alejandro (Las Piedras, P.R) snared a match-high 15 digs.
The Raptors were powered by Kozul with a match-high 11 kills, six digs and five blocks. McDonald tallied four kills, nine digs and two blocks, while senior Mahir Sheikh (Bronx, N.Y.) totaled a match-high 19 assists with four digs, three blocks and two kills.
The Blazers will look to remain in the win column when they host Mount Ida in a non-conference action at Picknelly Arena Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Bard hosts New York University in a conference match Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.