POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (March 29, 2014)—The Sacred Heart men's volleyball team dropped two matches Saturday evening to Springfield (3-0) and Vassar College (3-2). Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) led the Pioneers on the day with 27 kills, and senior Will LeClerc (Fairfield, Conn.) hit .421 over eight sets. The pair of loses drops Sacred Heart to 9-16 on the season.
While the Pioneers took a 10-8 lead over the Springfield Pride in the first set, the Pride began outscoring SHU two to one to take a substantial 18-4 lead from which the Pioneers could not recover as they dropped the opener 25-22.
Sacred Heart outscored Springfield 6-2 early in the second set, and maintained that lead throughout most of the set. With SHU up by two, 16-14, Louis Vega led a four-point run giving the Pride its first lead of the set, 17-16. Jason Kinney (Salem, N.H.), who led the match with 14 kills, snapped the streak, but a five-point service run from Eric Johnson late in the game clinched the set for Springfield 25-19.
The Pioneers took the three opening points of the third set, but the Pride was quick to answer taking the lead. Sacred Heart never managed to catch up and Springfield completed the sweep with the 25-22 win.
After trading the opening points in the first set against Vassar, the Brewers shut down the Pioneer offense never allowing SHU two consecutive points until Kinney's three-point service run snapped the streak. But that was all they would get as Vassar took the set 25-18.
The Pioneers turned it around in the second and third sets, posting their best hitting percentages of the night of 57% and 78% respectively. Sacred Heart opened the second set with a 6-3 run capped off by a kill from LeClerc, who tallied 12 in the set. Vassar was right back in it capitalizing on SHU errors for a seven-point run for an 11-7 lead. Down 15-11, Mackenzie, who lead the Pioneers with 17 kills in the match, used strong serving to put SHU back on top 16-15. Continuing to outscore the Brewers two to one through the end of the match, Sacred Heart claimed the set 25-20 with a Mackenzie kill sending the final blow. They took the third set 25-21 in similar fashion with back-and-forth action leading to a 20-20 tie. Ray Satagaj (Rocky Hill, Conn.), who hit .389 for the day, tipped the score back in SHU's favor and sparked a 6-1 SHU sprint to the finish line, which he capped off with another kill.
After coming out of the break leading the match 2-1, Sacred Heart couldn't manage to win the final set and fell 25-23 in the fourth, and 15-12 in the final, decisive set.
The Pioneers return home Friday night to battle Saint Francis U for the NEC Cup, before hosting Penn State Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the final home match of the year.