AURORA, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted a 3-1 loss to the Wildcats from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Friday evening at the Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the defeat, Wells falls to 11-17 overall on the year while concluding the North Eastern Athletic Conference slate of matches with an 8-6 record. The Wildcats improve to 15-10 and to 8-6 within league play.
With a SUNY Poly victory via set scores of 31-29, 23-25, 25-18 and 25-17, the Express now find themselves tied for third place overall in the NEAC playoff picture. With the top four teams qualifying for the tournament, the Wells loss now means that they must wait and see the results of this weekend's NEAC contests held on the campus of Medaille College. Should Keuka post three-straight victories to finish with a 9-5 conference record, either SUNY Poly or Wells could find themselves eliminated from the playoffs following a complex tiebreaking process.
Wells concludes the season series against SUNY Poly with a 1-2 record after hitting a combined .040 in the three matches, the team's worst against any opponent this season. On Friday, Wells committed 31 attacking errors while the Wildcats registered only 25 offensive miscues. The Wildcats also posted 57 digs as opposed to Wells' 43.
Wells was led by sophomore Liam Kaylor (Falls Church, Va.) and his first double-double of the year, registering 15 assists alongside 10 digs. He narrowly missed the program's first triple-double, posting a team-best eight kills. Freshman Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) led the way with 18 assist while libero Jack Battumur (Denver, Colo.) scooped up 17 balls for Wells.
In the first set, Wells squandered set point five separate times en route to losing the first set by a season-high 31-29 margin. The Express, however, did post a solid comeback after trailing by a set-high 7-3 margin. With Kaylor serving at 7-4 in favor of the Wildcats, Wells rattled off three-straight points to tie the game. Following a kill by freshman Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) to place Wells ahead 29-28, a kill from Bobby Nilsen preceded back-to-back attacking errors by the Express allowed SUNY Poly to capture a 1-0 lead.
In the second set, Wells trailed by a 14-8 margin but came back to capture a clutch 25-23 victory. With senior Paul Hernon (New Hartford, N.Y.) serving, Wells rattled off four-straight points to tie the game at 20 aside following a kill from freshman Thomas Bogarowski (Hanover Township, Pa.). Tied at 23, the Wildcats committed back-to-back attacking errors before junior John Farruggia (West Winfield, N.Y.) pounded home a service ace that fell just inside the back line to knot the match at one set apiece.
The Express led 17-16 in the third set, but seven-straight points by SUNY Poly delivered a crushing defeat via a 25-18 score. Two Wells timeouts were unable to slow the Wildcats, who posted a .206 hitting percentage (12-5-34) while Wells committed 10 errors to hit -.077 in the third set alone.
SUNY Poly was merciless in the fourth and final set, opening up a 21-12 lead before Wells made things interesting down the stretch. Both teams posted eight attacking errors and Wells actually outhit the visitors, but 13 free points via Wells attacking, ball handling and service errors proved to be the difference-maker.
A.J. Davids posted a team-best 13 kills while primary setter Zach Goggin set up 34 kills while contributing with five kills on six attacks. Defensively, Justin Rich scooped up 15 digs for the Wildcats.
Wells hosts three non-conferences matches next weekend as they welcome New Jersey City University and Penn St.-Behrend to the Farenthold Athletic Wing for three matches starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Apr. 4. Senior Andy Jacobs (Millburn, N.J.), senior Chris Tinozzi (Syracuse, N.Y.) and sophomore Alex Battey (Palmdale, Calif.), the team's three graduating student-athletes, will be honored in a pre-match ceremony before the 3 p.m. match versus Penn St.-Behrend.