AURORA, N.Y. – Sophomore Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) registered 18 kills to lead the Wells College men's volleyball team in its five-set loss to visiting Daniel Webster College on Sunday. With the defeat, the Express fall to 4-3 overall on the season while the Eagles even its overall mark at 4-4.
The Express captured the first set by a 25-20 margin, but the Eagles rallied to take the next two sets 25-23 and 25-21. Wells forced a decisive fifth set with a 25-21 comeback, but ultimately fell to Daniel Webster by a 15-12 margin to draw the loss. Collectively, Wells hit .195 on the day (55-25-154) while the visitors racked up 67 kills while hitting .286 (67-23-154).
Perdicho converted 18 of his 42 total swings for kills, hitting .262 (18-7-42), while chipping in with six digs defensively. Freshman Kody McCracken (Wellsboro, Pa.) turned in a 16-kill performance, leading his team in service aces with three, while classmate Ryan Turner (Liverpool, N.Y.) hit a team-high .647 after posting 11 kills on 17 errorless swings.
Sophomore Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) picked up 47 assists and 11 digs for Wells while senior Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.) scooped up 17 digs. Freshman Jonathan Haines (Wellington, Fla.) was a strong presence at the net front for the Express, throwing up two solo blocks and partnering on six others.
With the score deadlocked at eight in the fifth set, a Wells attacking error set in motion a three-point run by the Eagles that catapulted them in front by an 11-8 margin. The Express would shrink the deficit to 12-11 after a Daniel Webster attacking error, but back-to-back kills by the Eagles offense created match point. Wells had additional life after a service error, but with his team up by a 14-12 margin, Ryan Howdeshell blasted home a kill to end the match.
Wells took the first set by a 25-20 score after using four-straight points to put the Eagles away. In the opener, neither team built up a lead larger than three points until the very end. Led by a strong stretch of serves from senior John Farruggia (New Hartford, N.Y.), he posted a service ace to force set point and an offensive miscue by the Eagles placed Wells ahead early.
With the score tied at 19 in the second set, Daniel Webster pulled away with back-to-back kills that created a 21-19 lead. At one point, the Express led by an 18-15 margin in the stanza, but Saunoa Afoa's kill preceded his back-to-back service aces to single-handedly spark a comeback attempt. Down the stretch, McCracken forced home a kill off of a Litvin set, but an Afoa kill knotted the match at one aside.
Down by a 21-19 score in the third set, three-straight miscues by the Express created a 24-19 lead for the visitors. A kill from Darrien Mason forced a fourth set, where Wells utilized an impressive comeback to force the deciding fifth set. A McCracken kill tied the set at 19 before three-straight errors gave Wells a precarious 22-19 lead.
A Daniel Webster kill came before a blast from McCracken, creating a 23-20 Wells advantage. One play later, a Turner kill came before a service ace from McCracken to elevate the Express to a 25-21 victory.
Afoa led Daniel Webster with 24 kills, hitting a commanding .378 (24-7-45) off 45 total attack attempts. Nate Makaiwi set up 53 of his team's 67 kills while his 13 digs tied with Afoa for the team lead. Howdeshell ranked second on the team with 14 kills for the Eagles.
Wells returns to action Saturday, Feb. 6 as it travels to Juniata College for matches against the host Eagles and Marymount (Va.) starting at 3 p.m.