CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Meeting for the second time this season, the MIT men's volleyball team topped Daniel Webster College, 25-21, 25-15, 25-22, on Thursday night. The Engineers, who won the January 16 meeting in four sets, improved to 8-2 on the year while the Eagles dipped to 4-5 overall.
MIT freshman Matt Reilly (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) led all players with 12 kills and added eight digs, two aces, and two blocks. Sophomores Andrew Hall (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Tom Leech (Meadville, Pa.) both had seven kills while Hall chipped in two blocks. Freshman Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) paced the Engineers with three blocks as senior Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) collected eight digs. Freshman Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) posted 38 assists and two blocks while juniors Suyash Fulay (Wexford, Pa.) and Jordan Lucier (Torrance, Calif.) bolstered the back row with five digs apiece.
Junior Tommy Reyes (Providence, R.I.) generated a team-high nine kills to go along with five digs and two blocks for Daniel Webster. Senior Ryan Howdeshell (Fairbanks, Alaska) notched eight kills as freshman Saunoa Afoa (Las Vegas, Nev.) tallied seven digs, six kills, and three blocks. Freshman Nate Makaiwi (Las Vegas, Nev.) compiled 25 assists and nine digs while senior Darrien Mason (Farmington, Conn.) earned three blocks.
The Eagles inched out to a 7-4 lead in the opening set but MIT rattled off five straight points to go in front. Daniel Webster battled back, tying the score three times, the last at 11 courtesy of an Afoa kill. A pair of errors gave the Engineers some breathing room as it eventually held a 19-15 advantage after a hitting miscue by the visitors. The Eagles chipped away at the deficit as it came within two (20-18) on a Reyes kill. An exchange of points followed until a kill by Dong and a block by Kaufman and Reilly doubled the margin to 23-19. Daniel Webster replied with a Howdeshell kill and a block from Mason and freshman Richmond Iturralde Zavalza (Sahuarita, Ariz.) to stay within striking distance; however, a Reilly kill along with an Eagles' hitting error gave MIT the win.
The Cardinal and Gray raced out to a 9-3 advantage in the second stanza, prompting Daniel Webster to call a timeout. Despite the deficit, the Eagles continued to attack as a hitting miscue brought it within three (13-10). This was as close as it would get as MIT put together a 12-5 run to finish off the set.
The early stages of the third set were a back-and-forth affair as it featured seven ties and three lead changes. A kill by freshman Aaron Huang (San Jose, Calif.) along with back-to-back Reilly aces kicked off a 6-2 spurt that resulted in a 13-9 lead for the hosts. Daniel Webster converted an MIT serving error and a Reyes kill to stay close but the Engineers gradually established a 21-15 advantage on a Leech kill. A string of errors fueled a 5-1 spurt that saw the Eagles narrow the gap to 22-20. Another strike by Leech led to an exchange of points down the stretch with a Reilly kill clinching the match.
Both squads continue non-conference play on Saturday, Feb. 6. MIT will travel to Rivier University where it will also take on Sage College while Daniel Webster will host Lasell College.