CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 11 MIT men's volleyball team battled Southern Vermont College for a 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 non-conference victory on Tuesday night. Sophomore Martin Krasuski (Aurora, Ill.) tallied 12 digs, 10 kills, two aces, and two blocks for the Engineers (9-2) while freshman Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, Calif.) registered 13 kills and 12 digs for the Mountaineers (7-3).
MIT jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first set on a block by Krasuski and senior Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.). Southern Vermont closed the gap to 14-12 but two Krasuski kills and a ball handling error gave the Engineers some breathing room. The Mountaineers continued to stay close as a strike from senior Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, Calif.) brought them within three (22-19). MIT responded by recording three of the final four points as a kill by senior Alex Klein (San Diego, Calif.) clinched the win.
With the second stanza tied at 13, an error and an ace from freshman Tom Leech (Meadville, Pa.) gave the hosts a slight edge. An exchange of points ensued until MIT picked up three in a row to go up, 20-16. The tight play resumed as a kill from senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) brought Southern Vermont within 21-19. Miscues helped the Engineers reach set point; however, a blast by senior Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, N.Y.) kept the visitors alive. The comeback-bid was quickly denied courtesy of a kill from sophomore Sean Kropp (Fairless Hills, Pa.).
Strong blocking propelled the Mountaineers to an 8-2 advantage in the third set. MIT trimmed its deficit to 11-10 but Southern Vermont replied by scoring six of the next seven points. Following their own timeout, the Engineers mounted an 8-2 run that once again brought them within one (19-18) on a Klein kill. A kill from Ramirez stopped the rally while miscues by MIT down the stretch helped the Mountaineers pull out the 25-22 win.
In the final frame, the Engineers raced out to a 12-3 lead which eventually grew to 20-9 on a block by Busse and Kropp. Despite the deficit, Southern Vermont continued to attack, fighting off match point three times as an ace by senior James Barker (Southborough, Mass.) in addition to an error narrowed the gap to 24-21. MIT then secured the victory courtesy of a Krasuski kill.
Klein finished with a match-high 15 kills to go along with seven digs, and two blocks for the Cardinal and Gray. Freshman Jack Serrino (Glencoe, Ill.) posted eight digs, and six kills as Busse produced five blocks. Junior Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) and freshman Steve Lonhart (Santa Cruz, Calif.) distributed 32 and 12 assists, respectively, while sophomore Jordan Lucier (Torrance, Calif.) collected 13 digs.
Walley was a force to be reckoned with in the front row as he totaled 12 kills and five blocks for the Mountaineers. Dighton registered seven kills and two blocks while Fitzgerald tallied nine digs, six kills, and two blocks. Senior Herson Canta (Lagunitas, Calif.) notched 38 assists and six digs as classmate Tino Escovedo (Fresno, Calif.) racked up 13 digs.
Next up for MIT will be a road trip to Mount Ida College on Wednesday, Feb. 18 while Southern Vermont will host Johnson & Wales University the following evening.