BOSTON, Mass. – Junior Ross Burdett (Needham, Mass.) recorded a match-high 17 kills to help pace the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team to a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Elms in non-conference action at Tansey Gymnasium.
The visiting Blazers took the opening game by a 25-19 margin after breaking open a 6-6 game early with an 11-3 run. Elms would hit .435 as a team in the opening frame and would receive six kills from sophomore Angel Castro (Carolina, Puerto Rico). Wentworth received four kills from sophomore Sean Donahue (Lincoln, R.I.).
Wentworth jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second game and eventually extended that lead to 16-11. However, Elms scored the next five points to force a 16-16 tie but would be unable to gain the lead as the hosts scored nine of the next 14 points to close out the game at 25-21. Burdett had four kills for the leopards while freshman Jeff Vautrin (Chicopee, Mass.) recorded five for the Blazers.
Elms took a 2-1 lead after a third game that saw 13 ties. In the early going, neither team would hold a lead of more than three points before the Black & Gold took a 17-13 lead. The Blazers came back and were serving for the game at 24-22, however, two Donahue kills and an attack error staved off game point and gave Wentworth a 25-24 lead. The Leopards were unable to hold serve as Elms scored the next three points to take a 27-25 win. Senior Stephen Cameron (Newington, Conn.) had four kills in the game. Burdett, Donahue, and junior Mike Buonincontra (Shelton, Conn.) combined for 11 of the Leopards' 16 kills.
After three ties early on in the fourth game, Wentworth used a 10-4 run to take a 14-8 lead. Elms came back to get within a pair at 15-13, However a 6-1 run to end the game – including scoring the final five points – evened the match at two games apiece and sent the teams to the fifth and deciding game. Donahue and sophomore Rami Akouri (Fall River, Mass.) had four kills apiece in the game for the Leopards, while three players had two kills apiece for the Blazers.
Elms took a 4-2 lead to open the fifth game, but the Black & Gold, on the strength of hitting .615 as a team, took the game with a 15-10 win. Burdett had three kills in the game, while Donahue and junior Brian Mann (East Freetown, Mass.) also recorded key points. Castro had three kills for Elms.
In addition to Burdett's 17 kills, Donahue had 15 kills and five solo blocks, while Buonincontra added 10 kills to round out the Leopards' top attackers. Mann had five blocks (four solo) and Akouri chipped in with nine kills and four blocks. Senior Tyler Moriarty (Wilbraham, Mass.) added 42 assists, and Zach Newhouse (Lancaster, Calif.) collected a match-high 14 digs to round out the Leopard leaders. Wentworth his .328 as a team
Elms was led by Castro and Vautrin who downed 14 kills each, while Cameron (Newington, Conn.) and junior middle hitter Bryson Rainey (Brookline, Mass.) totaled 11 and 10 kills, respectively, to highlight four Blazers who struck for double-digit kills. Junior Kevin Welsh (Wilbraham, Mass.) dished out 47 assists helping Elms tally a .265 hitting percentage. Cameron added seven digs, while Vautrin assisted on four blocks.
With the win Wentworth, winners of three straight, improves to 9-4. The Leopards resume Great Northeast Athletic Conference play on Tuesday, when they travel to Emmanuel. Elms falls to 8-6 and hosts Regis and Vassar in a tri-match on Saturday.