March 12, 2009
Fairfield, CT- Kalani Efstathiou (Beaverton, OR) recorded 27 kills and Barry Smith (Shelton, CT) added seven kills and six blocks as the Sacred Heart men’s volleyball team downed Quincy 3-2 Thursday night in the Pitt Center. The Pioneers capitalized on the Hawks negative hitting percentage in the final two sets to win its third straight match.
Quincy (11-18) jumped out to an early 5-1 forcing Pioneer Head Coach Rob Machan to call an early timeout. Sacred Heart (10-6) was able to recover and knot the set at 7-7. The two teams battled back and forth the rest of the set and were even at 23-23. The Hawks rattled off four straight points again forcing Machan to call time. But the Pioneers would respond again and capped a 6-2 run with one of Efstathiou’s nine kills in the set to knot the score at 29 all. Quincy would capture the set, 33-31, with a kill from Ben Schulze and a Pioneer attack error. Despite losing the set Sacred Heart outhit the Hawks .372 to .333 and committed just five attacking errors compared to 21 kills.
In the middle of the second set the Pioneers went on a 6-0 run to pull away from Quincy and build a 16-11 lead. Sacred Heart coasted the rest of the way, winning 30-22. Freshman Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) notched the final point of the set with his fourth kill of the night. SHU hit a blistering .438 tallying 16 kills against only two errors. Efstathiou again led the Pioneers with six kills in nine attempts without a single mishit.
The third game started just like the first as the Hawks came out of the gate fast and went up 6-1. The back and forth play continued until the Pioneers used a huge block from Smith to spark a 5-1 run that cut the Quincy advantage to 21-20. The Hawks then pulled away late capturing 9 of the next 12 points to win the set 30-23. The Pioneer attack struggled in the third frame hitting just .093, having four shots blocked, and committing five service errors.
With their backs to the wall the Pioneers cruised to a fourth set victory, 30-20 forcing a fifth and deciding set. SHU capitalized on poor Quincy hitting as the Hawks posted a -.020 percentage. Smith anchored the Pioneers with three blocks and three kills in the fourth stanza. Junior Scott Grandpre (East Greenwich, RI) played well on defense for Sacred Heart and recorded a team leading five digs in the set.
Sacred Heart came out hot in the fifth set and coupled with more poor Hawks hitting built an 8-3 lead at the crossover. The Hawks hitting percentage was negative for the second straight game, compiling a -.140 mark in the final set. Quincy still refused to go quietly and mounted a 5-1 run to cut the SHU lead to 12-9 and forcing a Pioneer timeout. The Hawks went cold from the service line and committed two serving errors to give the Pioneers a 15-11 set victory and the overall win 3-2.
The victory marks the fourth time this season the Pioneers have won in five sets. Sacred Heart returns to action March 28th as they host Stevens Tech at 1:00 pm in the William H. Pitt Center