Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball team rallied from a first set loss to capture a four-set victory, 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17), in a non-conference matchup at Picknelly Arena Friday night. With the win, the Blazers improve 6-4 overall, while the Mustangs slide to 4-5 on the season.
In the first set, the Mustangs jumped to an early 7-3 lead behind strikes from sophomores Nate Gyampo (Providence, R.I.) and Brett Southworth (Orange, Conn.). Southworth served up three straight aces, followed by a kill to help Mount Ida advance their advantage to 13-4. The Blazers battled back with a trio of kills from junior Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and freshman David Hernandez (Springfield, Mass.) to cut the Mustangs lead to 16-13. Mount Ida rebuilt a 19-14 lead but tallies from Elms junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and senior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) made it a 21-18 game. Errors halted the Blazers comeback attempt, and an ace from Mount Ida senior Peter Griffenkranz (Deer Park, N.Y.) wrapped up the 25-19 win.
The Blazers controlled the scoreboard to open the second set, taking an 8-4 lead behind two kills from Bondarovsky and two aces from Hernandez. Kills from Reis Levy and Bondarovsky extended the Elms advantage to 13-9. After errors plagued both sides, Hernandez and Bondarovsky knocked back-to-back kills to push the Blazers ahead 19-13. Elms senior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) and junior Blake Fry (Natick, Mass.) delivered late kills as the Blazers evened the match with a 25-19 victory.
Action was close in the early stages of the third set with the Blazers grabbing a 5-2 lead on a kill from Bondarovsky, but the Mustangs responded with an ace from Gyampo to cut the lead to 5-4. Strikes from Hernandez and Reis Levy helped the Blazers maintain an 11-9 lead, but a kill from Griffenkranz tied the match at 11-11. The Blazers capitalized on a string of errors by Mount Ida, while adding kills from Hernandez and Dimanche and a pair of blocks from Bondarovsky to build a 21-13 gap. The Mustangs used kills from Gyampo to trim the lead to 21-16, but Mount Ida errors assisted Elms to the 25-17 win.
In the final set, the Blazers powered ahead 11-3 as sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) served up four aces with a kill. The Mustangs outscored the Blazers, 6-3, over the next series of points to cut the Elms lead to 14-9. The Blazers kept Mount Ida at bay with tallies from Reis Levy and Bondarovsky to grab an 18-12 advantage. A kill from Griffenkranz put the Mustangs within two points, 19-17, but Reis Levy halted the Mount Ida comeback with three straight kills as the Blazers captured the 25-17 win.
The Blazers offense was paced by double-digit kill efforts from Bondarovsky and Reis Levy. Bondarovsky posted a double-double with a match-high 12 kills, 11 digs and four blocks, while Reis Levy notched 11 kills with eight digs. Hernandez tallied eight kills while hitting a team-high .235 attack percentage, and Dunphy dished out 36 assists with a match-high four aces. Freshman Audrye Alejandro (Las Piedras, P.R.) snared a match-high 15 digs in the win.
Southworth powered the Mustangs attack with a team-high 10 kills, nine digs, three aces and two blocks. Gyampo grabbed a team-high 10 digs with four kills and three aces, and Griffenkranz added seven digs and six kills. Sophomore Nathan Sprengle (Williamstown, N.J.) totaled 21 assists with three digs.
The Blazers will be back in action with a non-conference road trip to Emmanuel (Mass.) Thursday for an 8:00 p.m. match. The Mustangs host Dean College and Pratt in a tri-match on February 18th.