Men's Volleyball Defeats Elms and Illinois Tech in Saturday Tri-Match

Jake Gasparich waits to serve the ball in a match played in Rockwell Cage.
Photo by DSPics.com

THE BASICS:

- Scores:

MIT 3, Elms College 2 (22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-13)
MIT 3, Illinois Tech (25-21, 25-17, 25-20)

- Records: MIT (7-3), Elms (6-4), Illinois Tech (1-6)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (DuPont Gymnasium)

- The Lead: MIT men's volleyball used a career-high 23 kills from sophomore Troy Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) to come from two sets down to defeat Elms College in five in its opening match before the Engineers swept Illinois Tech in a tri-match played in Cambridge this afternoon.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Elms:

- With the score even at 19-19 following an ace by first-year Seth Fine (Allentown, Pa.) in the opening set, Elms went on a 6-3 run to win the first 25-22. The set-ending run by the Blazers was sparked by a pair of kills by Jeremy Torres as Elms hit .417 to go ahead 1-0 in the match.

- The second set featured nine ties and five lead changes with the final tie coming at 17-17. Much as it did in the first, Elms put together a large set-ending run, but this time the spurt was 8-4 and was highlighted by back-to-back block assists by Diego Hernandez and Daniel Martinez.

- In the third the score was even at 4-4, but MIT put together an 8-2 run to go ahead 12-6. The run for MIT featured aces by Dylan Ryan (Oviedo, Fla.) and Fine as well as two kills by Brett Allen (San Jose, Calif.) as that was all of the momentum the Engineers would need to claim the third set. Elms cut its deficit to three at 20-17, but MIT outscored the Blazers 5-3 down the stretch and a kill by Nicholas Gustafson (San Diego, Calif.) gave the Engineers the third, 25-20.

- The fourth set was tied on seven different occasions. Midway through the stanza, Elms built its lead to three at 16-13, but MIT battled and eventually knotted the score up at 20-20 following a block assist by Oliveira and Ryan. The Engineers trailed 22-20, but with Oliveira serving the ball MIT scored four straight points to go ahead 24-22. A kill by Allen sealed the fourth for MIT 25-23 as the Engineers hit a match-best .306 in the stanza.

- Elms had an 11-9 advantage late in the fifth, but MIT outscored the Blazers 6-2 down the stretch to win the set 15-13 and the match 3-2. The 6-2 match ending was capped by Allen's ninth kill of the match.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- MIT was led by Oliveira, who registered a career-high 23 kills to go along with eight digs and a trio of block assists. Gustafson also had a great match as he hit .393 with a career-high 16 kills. Both Jack Yurkanin (New Lenox, Ill.) and Allen added nine kills apiece for the Engineers. Torres paced the Elms offense with 23 kills of his own.

- Fine tallied a career-high 55 assists to go along with four digs and a kill, while Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) paced the Engineers with a match-high 12 digs. In addition, Ryan posted six of MIT's 15 block assists on the day.

- As a team, MIT produced a season-high 68 kills and a season-high 62 assists in the five-set effort. The Engineers bounced back from a pair of five-set losses earlier in the season and took its first five-setter of the year today against Elms.

- The Engineers improved to 26-1 all-time against Elms College, but this was the first meeting between the teams in three seasons.

HOW IT HAPPENED vs. Illinois Tech:

- MIT took an early 13-8 lead in the first, but Illinois Tech rattled off a 9-4 run to eventually tie the score up at 17-17. An error by the Scarlet Hawks gave the Engineers an 18-17 and a lead they would not relinquish en route to the 25-21 set one victory. Jacob Gasparich (New Lenox, Ill.) swung for one of his team-high eight kills on the final point of the set.

- The second set featured 11 ties and five lead changes with the final time coming at 11-11. MIT was down one at 11-10 and produced a 10-3 run sparked by two kills by Bradley Albright (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) as well as aces by Yurkanin and Gasparich. Ahead by a 21-17 margin, the Engineers scored the final four points to take the second, 25-17. Gasparich produced three of MIT's final four points of the set as the other came on an ace by Michael Kulinski (New Lenox, Ill.).

- The Engineers jumped out to a dominant 11-3 lead in the third set thanks to three kills by Yurkanin and two kills by Gustafson. Illinois Tech got as close as four points, but MIT held off the Scarlet Hawks to win the set 25-20 and the match 3-0.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Gasparich and Yurkanin led the Engineers with eight kills apiece as Gasparich hit .700 (8K-1E-10A), while Yurkanin hit .353 (8K-2E-17A). Albert Luo (Dallas, Texas) produced a team-high 15 assists, while Albright led MIT with six digs.

- MIT hit .351 overall in the match which included a .429 effort in the second set as the .351 percentage is a season-high for the Engineers.

- MIT is now 2-0 against Illinois Tech in the all-time series between the clubs.

- The Engineers capped off the week by extending their winning streak to four.

UP NEXT:

- MIT will open United Volleyball Conference (UVC) play next Friday, February 14 at 7:00 pm against Elmira College. 

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