Dominant Fourth Set Caps 3-1 Pioneer Victory Over NJIT
Fairfield, CT - The SHU men's volleyball team slammed home 14 kills and hit a blistering .500 in the fourth set while holding NJIT to a -.308 hitting percentage in the frame to end a 3-1 triumph over the Highlanders Tuesday night inside the William H. Pitt Center. Senior Josef Sauer (Okemos, MI) made his first collegiate start and did not disappoint the enthusiastic home crowd. The 6-5 middle player supplied six blocks to go along with four kills and a .364 swinging mark. Classmate Roger Parent (Burlington, CT) was also clutch for the Pioneers all night, posting 13 kills on his 27 attempts for a .407 hitting clip.
Sacred Heart (7-3, 3-1 EIVA Hay) battled close with the Highlanders in the early stages of the first set but eventually grabbed a slight cushion at 13-9 on back-to-back errors from the visitors. The Pioneers forced the Highlanders into ten errors in the set while racking up 13 kills and only making three miscues of their own. Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) recorded three kills on his four swings while Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) added four of his 13 total kills in the opening set. SHU broke the stanza open at 19-12 following two consecutive kills from Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) and one from Parent. Sauer gave the Pioneers a set point with a kill to make it 24-16 and Mackenzie ended it at 25-16 with one of the squad's 13 service aces of the night.
NJIT (3-11, 0-3 EIVA Hay) again stayed tight with SHU early in the set before a SHU surge broke things open. This time it was a 6-1 run that moved the stanza to 15-8, the spurt was capped off by a Mackenzie solo block from Mackenzie. The Highlanders would never get any closer than five points the rest of the set and Sauer pounded home the final tally of the frame with a kill to give SHU the 25-19 set win and 2-0 overall lead. Tim Sadowski (Salem, NH) contributed one of his match high 38 assists on the play. Parent dominated the set with five kills on six attempts as the team swung at a superb .409 percentage.
The Pioneers lost focus in the third game as the home side committed six attacking errors and five serving miscues. Despite the struggles Sacred Heart had a crack at three match points after a Sadowski ace. Adam Gustafson saved the first one for NJIT with one of his six kills of the match. The next point saw the Highlanders turn away a Mackenzie attack with a block from Rafal Kierznowski and Dhruv Lad. Herman Kantushov then tallied an ace through Adrian Fernandez (San Juan, Puerto Rico), who had four digs in the set, to knot the score at 24-24. The teams then traded back-to-back attacking errors to enter the first, and only, extended set of the match. A SHU service error followed by a swinging miscue handed the set to NJIT 27-25 and forced the match to continue.
Sacred Heart responded to the challenge and left no doubt, scorching the ball throughout the set. The left-handed Parent muscled down six kills without making an error to pace the SHU attack. NJIT only mustered four of its 11 points of the frame on rallies, with the remaining seven points coming on Pioneer serving errors. The Highlanders did not get a kill in the fourth set and committed four errors on 13 total attempts. Craig Harvey (Beverly, MA) chipped in four of his team best nine digs as Sacred Heart cruised to a 25-11 triumph in the set. The Pioneers ran off eight points on the serve of Sadowski to build a 21-9 cushion and essentially end the match.
The men's volleyball team has now won five of its last six games and moves to 5-1 on their home floor in 2011. The Pioneers begin a three game road swing this weekend as they travel to Indiana for tilts against IPFW and Ball State.