January 31, 2007

NJIT Holds Off SHU in Three Close Games

Jan. 31, 2007

Final Stats

Fairfield, CT - Junior Leonardo Paludo had 15 kills and a game high nine digs to lead three Highlanders in double figure kills as New Jersey Institute of Technology escaped three close games for a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart in EIVA men's volleyball action Wednesday night at the Pitt Center. The Highlanders won by scores of 32-30, 30-27 and 38-36.

NJIT jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the first game but the Pioneers were able to stay in the game and eventually tied it at 22. SHU took a 27-26 lead but the Highlanders proceeded to run off the next three points and had a game point at 29-26. However, the Pioneers rallied again to tie the game at 29 and 30 apiece. NJIT would finally close the game out on a stinging service ace by junior Eduardo Paludo. It was one of seven aces on the night for the Highlanders. Sophomore Barry Smith (Shelton, CT), who finished the match with 15 kills, had 10 winners in the first game for the Pioneers.

In the second game, the Highlanders again jumped out to an 11-7 lead before SHU cut the lead to 11-10. NJIT extended the lead to 13-10 but the Pioneers came back to tie it at 15. The Pioneers ran off four of the next five points to open up a 20-16 lead. The Highlanders would hang around however, and ultimately would surge ahead 28-26 before hanging on for a 30-27 win and a two game lead in the match.

The third game was a classic see-saw battle in which both teams had multiple opportunities to close out the game but couldn't take advantage. NJIT opened up a 5-3 lead before the Pioneers scored seven of the next eight points to build a 10-6 lead. The Highlanders rallied to tie the score at 19 but the Pioneers went ahead again, ultimately building a 28-26 lead. NJIT tied the score at 28 and the teams then exchanged points for the rest of the game. The Pioneers had four game points which they squandered while the Highlanders wasted four match point opportunities before finally converting on the fifth chance. With the score tied at 36,junior Greg Wagner recorded the last two points for the Highlanders, on a kill and a block.

In addition to Smith, the Pioneers were led by senior Mike Ivers (Philadelphia, PA), who had 10 kills and freshman Kalani Efstathiou (Beaverton, OR), who tallied seven winners. For the Highlanders, Amobi Armstrong had 13 kills while Charles Bell registered 12 winners and seven digs.

The Pioneers (3-1, 0-1 EIVA) are back in action Sunday afternoon when they host Stevens Tech. Game time at the Pitt Center is 2:00 pm.