March 2, 2012

Sacred Heart Nipped at Princeton, 3-1

Princeton, NJ – Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) racked up a season high 16 kills but the SHU men's volleyball team fell just short of forcing a fifth set and suffered a 3-1 loss at Princeton Friday night.  Freshman setter John Lutjen (Smithtown, NY) had a solid night as the rookie tallied 42 assists, nine digs, and three kills.  The Pioneers saved five match points in the fourth set but the Tigers were able to eventually secure the victory, 30-28.

Sacred Heart (4-12, 1-7 EIVA) had its best offensive performance in the first set, hammering home 17 kills along with a .323 hitting percentage.  However, the Tigers .400 hitting mark kept them in the driver's seat and forced the Pioneers to use a timeout at 18-14.  SHU closed the deficit at the last moment, saving two set points, to knot the score line at 24-24 with kills from Mackenzie and Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI).  However, the home side claimed the next two rallies to grab the set, 26-24.

Princeton (6-4, 5-2 EIVA) controlled the second set from wire-to-wire and jumped out to a 5-0 edge.  The Tigers forced Sacred Heart into nine attacking errors while compiling a .208 hitting percentage of their own.  Cody Kessel finished the night with 15 kills for Princeton while Davis Waddell chipped in a match high 14 digs.  The Tigers moved to within one set of a victory with a 25-14 triumph.

The Pioneers took control of the third set with back-to-back blocks to make it 17-14 and force a Tigers timeout.  Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) paced SHU at the net with two solo blocks and four block assists.  Sacred Heart engineered a 4-1 spurt late in the frame and closed the match to 2-1 with a 25-20 victory.

The two sides battled back and forth in the fourth set and found themselves deadlocked at 21-21.   Princeton took the next three points to move within one rally of victory as well as forcing SHU to burn through both of its timeouts.  Sacred Heart rallied back to save all three match points, the final coming on a Mackenzie service ace.  The Tigers had another chance to win at 25-24 but Jason Kinney (Salem, NH) registered a kill and a service ace to put the Pioneers on top, 26-25.  The late stages featured side-out after side-out until the scoreboard read 28-28.  A SHU service error set up a fifth match point for Princeton and an attacking miscue gave the Tigers the set, 30-28, and the match, 3-1.

The Pioneers will try to snap a three match losing streak tomorrow afternoon at George Mason.