Engineers Blank Newbury, 3-0

Sophomore Tom Leech
Sophomore Tom Leech

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a non-conference men's volleyball match, host MIT defeated Newbury College, 25-16, 25-17, 25-15, in Rockwell Cage on Tuesday night. Sophomore Tom Leech (Meadville, Pa.) produced 10 kills, a .750 hitting percentage, three aces, and two blocks in two sets for the Engineers (7-2). Sophomore Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) led the way for the Nighthawks (0-5) with 10 kills.

MIT gradually established a 13-6 advantage in the first set, prompting Newbury to use its second timeout. Once action resumed, a Thorne kill set off an exchange of points that moved the score to 18-11. A hitting error generated a 6-1 spurt that gave the Engineers set point. The Nighthawks capitalized on a Thorne kill, a block and kill by sophomore Xavier Brown-Rose (Wilbraham, Mass.), along with an MIT hitting error to stay alive. However, the late rally was thwarted courtesy of a kill from sophomore Andrew Hall (Lynnfield, Mass.).

Newbury recorded the first three points of the second frame and later held a 6-4 edge after a kill by sophomore Wade Robidoux (Agawam, Mass.). Back-to-back Leech kills sparked a 10-3 run that put the Engineers ahead for good. The visitors slowly chipped away at the deficit as it drew within 17-15 following a pair of Robidoux kills. The Cardinal and Gray replied by tallying eight of the final 10 points of the set with freshman Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) providing two kills and an ace.

The first half of the third set was a tight affair as it featured six ties and two lead changes. A ball-handling error knotted the score at 12 while Kaufman collaborated on a block with Leech and then junior Sean Kropp (Fairless Hills, Pa.) to force a Newbury timeout. Junior Nile Fox's (Hampton, Va.) kill cut the deficit in half (15-13) but this was as close as it would get as a Leech kill kicked off a 10-2 run that finished off the match.

Kaufman finished with 10 kills, a .562 hitting effort, three aces, and three blocks as Hall bolstered the Engineers' attack with nine kills. Senior Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) and freshman Aaron Huang (San Jose, Calif.) both posted five digs while freshman Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) dished out 35 assists.

Robidoux contributed eight kills and four digs to the Nighthawks' cause as freshman Luis Aranda (Boyle Heights, Calif.) registered 23 assists and a match-high six digs.

Both squads are back in action on Thursday, Feb. 4. MIT will host Daniel Webster College while Newbury will have a home match with Emerson College.