LANCASTER, Pa. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted a 3-1 loss to the Chargers of Lancaster Bible College on Sunday at the Horst Athletic Center. Needing a win to secure a postseason berth, the Express were later eliminated from the playoffs after the host Chargers swept the Storm of Keuka College in straight sets.
The SUNY Institute of Technology will enter the NEAC Championship match with a 7-1 overall record. Wells (16-11, 5-3 NEAC) and Lancaster Bible (7-18, 5-3 NEAC) each boast the same league record, but the Chargers were able to dispatch the Express in four sets this afternoon (25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 26-28). Lancaster Bible wins the postseason seeding tiebreaker as they defeated Wells in fewer sets today than it took the Express to defeat the Chargers earlier in the season (five).
The Express wrap up their most successful season in team history, posting a 16-11 overall record in only their third season as a varsity program. Wells also posted a team record 10 game winning streak in 2014, picking up three league victories over Keuka, Cazenovia and Lancaster Bible during that stretch.
Against Lancaster Bible, sophomore J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.) racked up a team-best 10 kills. Classmate Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.) assisted 30 of his team's 36 kills while also contributing with 13 digs to also lead his squad defensively. Junior Paul Hernon (New Hartford, N.Y.) posted seven block assists and a solo block as the Express posted 12 total team blocks across the four set match.
Wells captured an opening set victory after jumping out to a 23-20 margin. After a Lancaster Bible timeout, Tyler Eckels registered a kill to keep the Chargers in the game but an attack error preceded a service ace by Hernon to secure the set win. The Express only needed six kills offensively to knock off the Chargers, who committed 11 errors in the first set alone.
After Lancaster Bible tied the game after a 25-17 second set win, both teams battled down the stretch in the third and fourth sets. With the score tied at 20 following a Mitch Demko service error, the Express committed two attack errors after a TJ Forsythe kill to trail by three points. A Forsythe service error granted Wells the ball at 24-22, but a service ace by the Express was unfortunately followed by a ball served into the net, securing the set win for the hosts.
In the fourth and final set, Wells took a 24-23 lead following a Lancaster Bible service error, but the Express were on the wrong end of a lengthy streak of offensive prowess. With neither team seemingly ready to give up, the teams traded kills until match point at 27-26. A kill by Demko, set up by Alex Bahn, was an exclamation point on the match as the Chargers were able to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Express earlier in the season.
The Chargers, who played with only seven players, were led by Demko's 19 kills against only three errors. Eckels set up 39 of his team's kills while Demko also recorded 15 digs to help his team defensively. As a team, Lancaster Bible posted 47 kills on 117 attacks (.214 attack percentage) while the Express hit a combined .089 after committing 26 errors on 112 total attacks alongside only 36 kills.