ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted back-to-back victories on Friday, defeating the Gryphons of Sarah Lawrence College in straight sets (3-0) before silencing the host Raptors of Bard College in similar fashion (3-0) at the Stevenson Athletic Center. With the sweep, the Express improve to 8-6 overall on the year following the non-conference tilts.
The Express posted a 3-0 victory over Sarah Lawrence (0-11) via scores of 25-7, 25-11 and 25-11. Wells set down Bard (4-13) via set scores of 26-24, 25-13 and 25-22. Wells was able to defeat back-to-back opponents by 3-0 scores for the third time in program history. Today's slate of games marks only the first time Wells was able to set down two different opponents in straight sets on the same day.
Versus Sarah Lawrence, sophomore John Farruggia (Leonardsville, N.Y.) led the team with seven kills on 12 attacks for a .417 attacking percentage (7-2-12). Junior Andy Jacobs (Millburn, N.J.) and freshman Torik Gordon (Westmoreland, Jamaica) each posted a .429 attacking percentage with the former racking up four kills on seven attacks and the latter chipping in with five kills in seven total attacks. Freshman Liam Kaylor (Falls Church, Va.) assisted 11 of his team's 26 kills and also posted a career-high seven service aces in the match. Defensively, libero C.J. Bayly (Waymart, Pa.) led the way with 13 digs.
Wells jumped out to a 14-2 lead immediately in the first set after initially posting eight-straight points to open the match with Kaylor serving and leading off the first rotation. Following a Wells service error to set the score at 23-7, however, a service ace by Farruggia capped off the set with an exclamation point.
Once again, the Express opened the middle stanza with eight-straight points with Kaylor serving. Ultimately, the Gryphons battled the Express to a 17-10 score with the visitors from Wells leading, but Wells went on a six point run to capture a 22-10 lead. Wells utilized kills from junior Chris Tinozzi (Syracuse, N.Y.), freshman Mathew Armlin (Fort Plain, N.Y.) and Gordon to take a 2-0 lead.
Leading 17-10, Tinozzi racked up back-to-back service aces to further elevate the Express advantage in the third and decisive set. Gordon and Jacobs followed with back-to-back kills that preceded back-to-back attacking errors by the Gryphons, propelling the Express to a 23-10 lead. A service error by Sarah Lawrence at match point secured the victory for the Express.
Derek Komar and Ishaan Pujari each posted three kills for the Gryphons, leading the team in that category. Brent Terry assisted five of his team's seven kills while tying with Pujari for the team lead with three digs apiece. Komar and Pujari each posted a service ace in the loss to the Express.
Against the host Raptors, Wells was led by Farruggia and his 11 total kills on 25 total attacks for a team-best .360 attacking percentage (11-2-25). Kaylor chipped in nine kills against only two errors while sophomore J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.) added eight kills for the Express. Sophomore Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.) posted 29 assists while Kaylor added 13 total digs defensively. As a team, Wells posted 6.5 total team blocks, led by Kaylor's four block assists.
The Express and Raptors battled to a 24-24 tie despite a 17-13 lead by Wells following an attacking error by the hosts. Bard fell victim to a Podczasy kill to lift Wells to a 25-24 lead before an attacking miscue by the Raptors elevated the Express to a 26-24 victory. In the first set alone, Wells racked up 21 total digs in addition to four service aces en route to the victory.
As a team, Wells hit a collective .400 (12-2-25) in the middle stanza to escape with a 25-13 set win over Bard. Kaylor posted four of his nine total kills in the second set alone, making zero errors and adding two block assists in the frame to lead the Express offensively and defensively. Bayly and Nipps each added three digs apiece in the second set.
Clutch play down the stretch proved to be the difference maker in the third set as the Express were able to overcome several tied scores to capture the set and, consequently, the match. Both teams were tied a whopping 16 ties in the third set, but the Express took the lead for good following a 20-20 deadlock. Podczasy was able to record a kill following a blocking error by the host Raptors to take the lead for good.
From there, Wells utilized two kills from Farruggia down the stretch that sandwiched two attacking errors by the Raptors. Alex Adams recorded two kills for Bard down the stretch, but the Express offensive corps coupled with the aforementioned attacking errors doomed any attempt at a third set comeback.
Bard was led by Jesse Small and his 11 total kills in the match. Henry Kasiske ran the offense for the Raptors, assisting 29 total kills for Bard while also chipping in 14 digs defensively. Adams was the most efficient attacker for Bard, racking up nine kills on 19 total attacks for a team-leading .368 hitting percentage (9-2-19).
Wells returns to action Saturday, Feb. 22 as they face-off against the City College of New York in the championship match of the Bard Raptors Volleyball Tournament. The day's action begins at 1:30 p.m. on the campus of Bard College.