Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball squad battled back-and-forth with visiting Regis College in a five-set New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at Picknelly Arena Saturday afternoon. The Blazers move to 14-9 overall, and 6-4 in the NECC, while Regis improves to 6-1 in league play, and 11-12 on the season.
Play was tight from the start as kills from junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and senior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) put the Blazers ahead 4-2. Elms held a slim advantage over the Pride early in the set with strikes from freshman David Hernandez (Springfield, Mass.) and junior Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) assisted the Blazers to a 10-8 lead. Bondarovsky and Regis sophomore Drew Beimel (Redondo Beach, Calif.) traded kills to set the score at 13-11, and then Hernandez notched another kill, trailed by a Regis error to force a Pride timeout with Elms leading 17-13. Elms pushed ahead 20-16 after a service ace from sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.), and then a kill from Hernandez put the Blazers on the doorstep of victory, 23-18. The Pride responded with tallies from junior Brett Krahl (Santa Clarita, Calif.) and Beimel and capitalized on Blazers errors to lock the match at 24-24. A pair of kills from Hernandez put Elms ahead 26-25, but a kill from Regis senior Sean Bisnett (Oxnard, Calif.) and an Elms error handed the Pride a 27-26 lead. A slam by Reis Levy knotted the score at 27-27, but Bisnett struck again to help Regis secure the 29-27 win.
In the second set, Regis evened the score at 5-5 on kills from Krahl and junior Marcos Aguirre (Norwalk, Calif.), but Hernandez delivered back-to-back kills to regain a 7-5 lead for the Blazers. Tied at 8-8, no more than one point separated the squads as they traded the lead over the next 12 points to set the score at 14-14. The Blazers used kills from Reis Levy and Hernandez to capture an 18-15 advantage. Regis battled back with tallies from Beimel and Aguirre to close the deficit to 21-20. Reis Levy and Hernandez exchanged kills with Beimel and Bisnett as Regis evened the score at 23-23. Tied at 25-25, the Blazers wrapped up the 27-25 set victory behind consecutive kills by senior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) and DeCosmo.
Regis led throughout the third set, jumping to a 4-0 lead on kills by Beimel and Aguirre. A 5-3 run by the Pride helped them escort their advantage to 9-3 on a dump kill from senior setter Joe Hanrahan (Coventry, R.I.). Regis junior Jeff Ramos (Pawtucket, R.I.) contributed on a pair of double blocks and Beimel added another kill as the Pride lead swelled to 15-7. Elms worked at the deficit with kills from Bondarovsky and Hernandez, but Krahl registered a block and two kills down the stretch to seal the 25-13 win for Regis.
The Blazers rebounded in the fourth set as a pair of kills from DeCosmo and Bondarovsky handed Elms a 6-3 lead. Regis pulled within two points, 8-6, on a kill from Beimel, but the Blazers executed a 7-3 run, sparked by two kills from Reis Levy, to build a 15-9 advantage. Following a Pride timeout, Bondarovsky delivered a trio of kills to develop a 19-11 lead. Following a kill by Beimel, Bisnett logged a block and kill as Regis trimmed the gap to 21-15. Crowe and DeCosmo notched late kills, along with a double block from Reis Levy and Bondarovsky as the Blazers forced a fifth set with the 25-18 win.
Regis led early in the fifth set as a kill from Bisnett gave the Pride a 7-4 lead. Trailing 9-5, the Blazers responded with a 4-0 run to knot the score at 9-9. Bisnett and Bondarovsky exchanged slams, and Pride errors put the Blazers ahead 12-10. The Blazers sat one point shy of victory following a solo block by Reis Levy and a Pride error, but Regis staved off defeat with kills from Krahl and Aguirre to tie the match at 14-14. After errors set the score at 16-16, Krahl tallied a kill and then assisted on a game-winning double block to give Regis the 18-16 victory.
The Blazers had four attackers post double figures in kills, led by a career-high 16 kills and 14 digs from Hernandez. Bondarovsky notched a double-double with 15 kills and 15 digs, while Reis Levy registered a double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs, along with six blocks. DeCosmo smashed a career-high 11 kills with five digs and two blocks. Dunphy totaled a season-high 56 assists, while freshman Audrye Alejandro (Las Piedras, P.R.) grabbed a match-high 21 digs.
Krahl, Bisnett, and Beimel paced the Pride offensively with 14 kills apiece. Bisnett registered a double-double, adding 17 digs, while Beimel recorded a double-double with 14 digs and three blocks. Aguirre added nine kills and seven digs, and Hanrahan dished out 48 assists in the win.
The Blazers will look to return to the win column with an NECC road trip to Lesley University Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Regis hosts Newbury in NECC action Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.