Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The third-seeded Elms College men's volleyball team rolled to a three-set sweep of visiting sixth-seed Southern Vermont College, 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-17), in the First Round of the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Men's Volleyball Championship Tournament at Picknelly Arena Tuesday night. With the win, Elms rises to 17-9 on the season, while the Mountaineers wrap up their 2017 campaign with a 6-22 mark.
The Blazers faced little resistance from the Mountaineers during a 25-10 victory in the first set. Elms held an early 5-2 lead behind a pair of aces from sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) and kills from senior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.). After two aces from junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) put the Blazers up 9-4, the Mountaineers got back on the scoreboard with a double block from sophomore Marv Figaro (New York City, N.Y.) and Adrian Dickerson (Bristol, Vt.). The Blazers seized control with an 8-2 run, featuring a pair of kills from junior Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), to escort their advantage to 17-7. A double block from Reis Levy and Bondarovsky was followed by a solo block from Crowe as the Elms lead expanded to 20-8. The Blazers capitalized on Mountaineer errors and an ace from Bondarovsky sealed the win.
The Blazers used five kills from four different attackers to harness a 10-3 lead to open the second set. After kills from Reis Levy, Bondarovsky, and senior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) hand Elms a 16-7 lead, the Mountaineers responded with a kill from senior Jeff James (Bowie, Md.) and an ace from junior Yonas Million (Rockville, Md.) to work at the deficit. Reis Levy served up two aces and Southern Vermont junior Elms Olivares (Miami, Fla.) delivered a pair of late kills, but Dimanche closed out the win with a kill and a double block for the 25-14 win.
The Mountaineers took their first lead of the contest with an opening strike from James, but the Blazers answered with a 6-2 run, paced by two kills from freshman David Hernandez (Springfield, Mass.). After a kill from Bondarovsky made it 7-5, Southern Vermont evened the score on back-to-back kills from Olivares and freshman Bryan Bernal (Riverside, Calif.). Tied 8-8, the Blazers created separation with five straight points, including two aces from Dunphy, to develop a 13-8 lead. An SVC double block and a kill from Olivares closed the deficit to 15-12, but consecutive kills from Hernandez, Dunphy and Dimanche push Elms to an 18-12 advantage. The sided traded points down the stretch until kills from Reis Levy and Hernandez slammed the door on the Mountaineers for the 25-17 win.
The Blazers orchestrated a balanced attack with five attackers posting at least four kills, led by a team-high eight kills, five digs, a match-high four aces and two blocks from Bondarovsky. Reis Levy added seven kills with a team-high 10 digs and a match-high four blocks, while Dimanche chipped in six kills. Hernandez logged seven digs with five kills, and Crowe tallied four kills and two aces. Dunphy totaled 26 assists with a match-high four aces and four digs in the win.
Southern Vermont was paced by a match-high 10 kills and a team-high nine digs from Olivares. James and freshman Te Hayward (Baltimore, Md.) added two kills apiece. James recorded a match-high four blocks, and Bernal dished out 15 assists.
The Blazers advance to the NECC Semifinals for the first time since the 2013 season, and will face second-seeded Regis College (15-13) Thursday night at Higgins Court.