February 4, 2012

Men’s Volleyball Settles for Split in New Jersey; Defeats Ramapo and Falls to Stevens Tech

Hoboken, NJ – The SHU men's volleyball team had 3-0 verdicts go two different directions Saturday afternoon in a victory over Ramapo College and a loss to Stevens Tech.  Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) totaled 30 kills on the day and posted a hitting percentage above .320 in both contests.  Jason Kinney (Salem, NH) had a solid day at the net, having a hand in eight total blocks in SHU's two matches.

Sacred Heart (3-6) started its day against Ramapo, and surged out to a 9-3 advantage in the opening set.  SHU would never look back and cruise to a 25-11 triumph.  The SHU defense held Ramapo to a negative hitting percentage in both the first and second sets. 

Ramapo (4-2) closed a Pioneer advantage in the second stanza and leveled the score line at 19-19.  However, the Sacred Heart defense stood tall and rattled off six straight points, three on blocks, to take the frame, 25-19.  Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) was part of all three blocks while John Lutjen (Smithtown, NY) was a part of two.  Mackenzie finished the match with seven kills while Lutjen directed the offense with 29 assists.

The Pioneers continued to roll in the third and engineered an 11-4 run that blew open the third game.  Jose Juelle (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) slammed home match point with a service ace, one of SHU's nine of the contest.  Sacred Heart made just 11 hitting errors in the match and were led by Hunt's 13 kills and .409 hitting percentage.

Stevens Tech (3-0), ranked ninth in division III, broke home its first set with the Pioneers by claiming nine straight points to push in front, 19-10.  David Evans proved too much to handle as the Duck posted a match high 18 kills for the home side.  Jake Modestow gave the first set to Stevens Tech, 25-17, with one of his five kills of the match; he also did not make an attacking error all day.

The two sides battled back-and-forth in the second set with no one able to gain a decisive advantage.  However, it was the Pioneers who played catch-up in the later stages of the stanza.  The Ducks won two straight points to make it 20-17 and nursed the three point lead down the stretch.  SHU was unable to close the gap and a service error ended the set, 25-21, for Stevens Tech. 

Sacred Heart found itself in a similar situation in the third set, the Pioneers would never have the lead but also never trailed by more than three points.  SHU was able to fight off a pair of match points, the first coming on one of Hunt's 17 kills and the second on a Ducks attack error.  But Evans came up with the big swing, adding a kill, to secure the set and match for Stevens Tech, 25-23 and 3-0.

Connor Bohl (Centennial, CO) recorded a match best nine digs from the libero position against Stevens Tech.  Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) was the most efficient SHU attacker against the Ducks, ripping eight kills with a .3890 hitting percentage.

The Pioneers will now gear up for an important pair of home conference matches this weekend against Princeton on Friday and George Mason on Saturday.