Dong Registers 3000th Career Assist in Split With Nazareth and St. John Fisher

Dong Registers 3000th Career Assist in Split With Nazareth and St. John Fisher



MIT 3, Nazareth College 0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-15)
St. John Fisher 3, MIT 2 (25-16, 26-24, 26-28, 13-25, 15-11)

Records: MIT (12-5, 4-4 UVC); Nazareth (8-9, 1-4 UVC); St. John Fisher (16-3, 5-1 UVC)

Location: Cambridge, Mass. (DuPont Gymnasium)

The Lead: MIT senior setter Yize Dong (Moraga, Calif.) became the third student-athlete in program history to record 3,000 career assists as he guided the Engineers to a United Volleyball Conference (UVC) split in a doubleheader against Nazareth College and St. John Fisher College on Saturday in Cambridge.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Nazareth:

- The score was knotted at 5-5 early in the first before MIT went on a 7-2 run to jump ahead 12-7 as junior Colton Stearns (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) highlighted the run with three kills, a solo block and an assisted block. Nazareth battled back to tie the score once again but this time at 18-18. Late in the stanza, the score was even at 19, 20, 21 and 22 but back-to-back errors by the visitors gave MIT the first set, 25-23. 

- MIT trailed 17-13 in the second, but the responded with a 6-1 rally as Steans added another two kills to his game one effort for the Engineers. A kill by Skyler Kaufman (Needham, Mass.) paired with an attack error secured the seconds set for MIT 26-24. 

- Leading by just one (13-12) midway through the third, the Engineers went on a 7-1 run that put enough distance between MIT and Nazareth to win the set 25-15 and the match 3-0. The run featured four kills by Kaufman and two kills via Stearns. Bradley Albright's (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) kill was the final point of the match for the Engineers.


- Stearns led the MIT offense with a career-high 11 kills, while Kaufman hit .476 with ten kills of his own for the Engineers. Dong's 30 assists in match one left him four shy heading into match two against St. John Fisher.

- Defensively, Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) tallied a match-high 12 digs, while Stearns notched two solo blocks and four block assists.

- MIT picked up its fourth win in the all-time series against Nazareth this afternoon.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. St. John Fisher:

- St. John Fisher led from start to finish in the first set after jumping out to an early 4-0 lead. MIT came as close as two points at 6-4, but late in the set with the visitors up 18-13 St. John Fisher went on an 8-3 set ending run to win the first 25-16. Dong notched the 3000th assist of his career when he passed the ball to Kaufman for a kill midway through the stanza. 

- The second set saw the score tied 19 different times with the final time coming at 24-24. St. John Fisher's Andres Ramirez notched a kill and then he assisted on a block to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the match and the second set by a 26-24 score.

- MIT had to force extra points to keep the match going and the Engineers did just that. MIT came out of a timeout trailing 24-22, but kills by Stearns, Nathan Wang (Saratoga, Calif.) and Troy Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) forced St. John Fisher to call a timeout of its own. A kill by Kaufman and an assisted block by himself and Oliveira gave MIT the third, 28-26. 

- A dominant 7-1 run that featured two kills from Kaufman and two kills from Oliveira gave MIT a 17-9 lead in the fourth. Then up 18-11, the Engineers closed the fourth set on a 7-2 run to force a fifth set. Two kills by Cole Linnus (Wellington, Fla.) and one kill by Stearns paired with four errors by the Cardinals secured the fourth set for MIT, 25-13. 

- The first half of the fifth set saw the score even on seven different occasions before St. John Fisher closed the match on an 8-4 run to win the fifth 15-11 and the match 3-2.


- Three Engineers registered double-digit kills including Linnus who posted a career-high 14 kills. Kaufman hit .480 with 13 kills, while Oliveira added 12 kills of his own in the effort for MIT.

- Three Engineers also posted double-digit digs on the defensive side of the ball including a season-high 19 by Nelson, 12 from Wang and ten from Dong. 

- Dong's 3,000 assists and now 3,041 helpers rank third all-time in the MIT record book for career assists. He is just the third student-athlete to dish out 3,000 assists in a career as the last one to do it was Jordan Wan '06. Wan ended his career with 3,324 assists.


- MIT steps out of conference play for its next match as the Engineers welcome No. 1 Springfield College to Cambridge on Wednesday, March 6 for a 7:00 pm match in Rockwell Cage.


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