OWINGS MILLS, Md. –The Wentworth Institute of Technology men’s volleyball team finished as the runner up in the ECAC Division III Championship, defeating Southern Vermont in three sets in the semifinals and falling to Stevenson 3-1 in the championship match Saturday afternoon at Owings Mills Gym. This marked the third straight season the Black & Gold have advanced to the championship and the defending champions were matched up with Stevenson in the finals for a second straight season.
Wentworth finishes the 2015 season with a record of 23-9.
In the first match, Wentworth led early in the first set after a kill by sophomore Mike Hansen (Rochester, N.Y.) put the Leopards up 5-3. But the Mountaineers fought back and held the lead up until the score was tied at 20. Southern Vermont took a 24-22 lead after a kill by senior Kevin Walley (Pico Riviera, Calif.). The Leopards managed to fight back and strung together four straight points to take the set 26-24.
The Leopards jumped ahead to a 4-0 lead in the second set with freshman Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) serving three straight aces. Wentworth never trailed in the set, and led by as much as eight. Sophomore Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) finished the set with a kill to take it 25-19.
Like Wentworth did in the previous set, Southern Vermont opened the third set with four straight points. Trailing 19-16, Mullen hit a kill to jump start the Leopards with six straight points. The finale went down to the wire with the score tied at 25. However a Mountaineer attack error and Mullen kill finished the match 27-25 and propelled the Leopards to the finals against Stevenson.
Freshman Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.) had a match-high 13 kills with six digs, four block assists, and a service ace while hitting .320. Sophomore Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) had eight kills and three aces, Potts had seven kills and three blocks, and freshman Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) had seven kills and eight aces. Sophomore Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) had 36 assists.
In the championship match, Wentworth tied the first set at 13 thanks to an attack error. But six straight Stevenson points gave the Mustangs a 19-13 lead. The Leopards brought the set within three, but a kill by junior Patrick Schuyler (Harrisburg, Pa.) ended the first set 25-20.
The Leopards were off to a good start in the second set, scoring the first seven points with Mullen on the serve. Wentworth led by as much as 12 late in the second set and tied the match 1-1 after Reed hit a kill to take the set 25-17. The Leopards swung .423 in the set.
After a Potts kills opened the third set, Stevenson scored four straight to lead 4-1 early. The Mustangs never lost the lead nor was the set tied. Back-to-back kills by sophomore Nate Ellis (York, Pa.) and senior Wes Richardson (York, Pa.) captured the third set 25-18.
The Mustangs led for the majority of the fourth set, with their largest lead at 20-16. Wentworth put together four straight points with Potts on the serve to tie the match at 20. The Leopards were on the verge of forcing a decisive fifth set when they took a 23-22 lead. However the Mustangs captured the last three points to win the set 25-23 and win the ECAC Championship.
Reed had 16 kills and a pair of blocks, Mullen had 10 kills, three aces, and 13 digs, Potts had nine kills, four aces, and four blocks, sophomore Mike Roagchefsky (Rochester, N.Y.) had 12 digs, while Ritter had 40 assists and four blocks. With his 40 assists, Ritter eclipsed the 2,000-assist mark for his career.