Nashua, NH – The SHU men's volleyball team dropped its second consecutive five set match as division III #10 Rivier defeated the Pioneers Thursday night. SHU saved five match points while the Raiders faced three before the final set ended 22-20. Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) had a team high 18 kills as the Pioneers recorded a .231 hitting percentage on the night. Sacred Heart struggled at the service line, tallying eight aces compared to 25 errors, as the team has now lost three straight.
Sacred Heart (7-6) built a small cushion late in a tightly contested first set as Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) hammered home one of his five kills to give the Pioneers a 23-20 edge. Komlanc finished the day with a .571 hitting percentage, committing just one attack error in seven attempts. SHU had two set points beginning at 24-22 but a serving error and a block from Aaron Almario and Steve Visentin knotted the game at 24-24. The Pioneers then saved back-to-back Raider set points on kills from Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) and Jose Juelle (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico). However, a SHU serving error followed by an attack error would allow the Raiders to take the first stanza, 26-24.
The Pioneers started the second set hot to grab an early 8-2 lead, winning five straight points. Tim Sadowski (Salem, NH) dumped in one of his seven kills to give Sacred Heart its largest lead of the set at 21-12. Sadowski recorded seven kills on 10 attempts on the night and also dished out a match high 48 assists. Mackenzie had the last kill to even the match at 1-1 overall as SHU took the second set, 25-18. The Raiders posted a .125 hitting mark in the frame, tallying seven kills and five errors on 16 swings.
Rivier (25-8) claimed four consecutive rallies in the middle of the third set to take a 17-11 lead. But a service miscue followed by three straight hitting errors from Sam Kazlas put SHU within two at 17-15. However, the Pioneers were unable to secure back-to-back points the rest of the set as the Raiders took the third, 25-18. Jared Andreozzi provided six of his match high 23 kills in the set as Rivier had its most productive hitting set of the match with a .310 percentage.
Sacred Heart held the Raiders to a miniscule .100 mark in the fourth set, forcing the home team into eight attack errors. The Pioneers stretched an early lead to five, 15-10, as Komlanc and Sadowski combined for one of SHU's 8.5 blocks of the night. Sacred Heart got its last three points of the set on kills to take the frame 25-21 and force a fifth and deciding set.
The Raiders threatened to run away with final set, jumping out to a 6-2 cushion on the strength of four Pioneer errors. Sacred Heart closed to within one at 10-9 on one of Juelle's career high 12 kills but Rivier claimed the next three rallies. The Raiders had two match points with a 14-12 lead forcing the Pioneers to come up huge in the next two rallies. Freshman Patrick Sibley (Valley Center, CA) stepped up first with one of his 10 kills to make it 14-13. Sibley finished the match with a .381 hitting percentage on just two errors. Two straight Raider errors gave Sacred Heart a match point but a service error evened things at 15-15. The two sides exchanged shots until an Andreozzi kill made it 21-20 and a SHU hitting error allowed Rivier to convert on its sixth match point and put the set away 22-20 in the fifth.
The Pioneers have lost the last three straight but none of those contests have been in EIVA Hay action. Sacred Heart returns home and to league play Saturday night as they welcome first-place Juniata to the Pitt Center. Game time is set for 6:00 pm.