AURORA, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball team picked up back-to-back victories on Saturday to conclude the North Eastern Athletic Conference Crossover Weekend, hosted by the Express at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing on Saturday. Wells posted a 3-0 victory over the Wildcats of Cazenovia College before battling the Chargers of Lancaster Bible College to a 3-2 victory.
The Express improve to 12-6 overall on the season and to 4-1 within league play, both program record marks. Wells currently leads all NEAC teams in total victories (12) and conference victories (4). Cazenovia concluded the tournament at 0-11 (0-5 NEAC) while the Chargers finished their two matches with a record of 2-10 (2-1 NEAC).
Wells was able to defeat the Wildcats in straight sets via scores of 25-19, 25-12 and 25-17. Cumulatively, sophomore John Farruggia (Leonardsville, N.Y.) led all Wells players with 12 total kills in 20 total attacks, posting only two errors in the match. Farruggia broke his own program record in the match, posting a .500 attacking percentage (12-2-20) in the decisive three set victory. Sophomore Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.) assisted 27 of his teams' 36 kills while senior libero C.J. Bayly (Waymart, Pa.) led all players with 14 digs.
After the first set victory, the Express were able to cruise to a 21-9 lead in the middle stanza. The Express saw seven kills on 10 errorless attacks from Farruggia in the frame, elevating Wells to the eventual 25-12 victory. Sophomore J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.) utilized four kills to lead all Wells players in the third set en route to a 25-17 win.
Cazenovia was led by Kory Parsons and his six kills offensively. Devin Purcell assisted five of his team's 13 kills against the Express while Jacob Bitz kicked in eight digs defensively to lead the team in that category.
In a wild match that went the distance, the Express were able to use a team-record 10 service aces en route to a 3-2 victory over Lancaster Bible via set scores of 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-19 and 15-11. Farruggia once again led all Wells players with 15 kills while Nipps added 32 assists to lead all Express players in that category. Defensively, Bayly led all players with 16 total digs.
Lancaster Bible snapped Wells' 16 set winning streak in the opening stanza, edging the Express by a 25-21 margin. With the score tied 21 aside down the stretch, two kills by Mitch Demko sandwiched a Tyler Eckels kill to elevate the visiting Chargers to the victory.
In a hotly contested second set, Wells was able to eke out the 25-22 victory with strong play down the stretch. Leading by a precarious 23-22 margin, Wells saw a kill from Farruggia before a Nipps service ace to take home the victory. In the third set, however, Lancaster Bible rebounded to post a 25-19 victory after building a set-high six point lead at 16-11.
Wells applied strong pressure in the fourth set and eventually willed their way to a 25-19 set victory. The Express picked up three-straight points to take a 16-11 lead following a kill by freshman Alex Battey (Palmdale, Calif.), a kill from Farruggia and a bad set by Eckels. Wells took advantage of three Lancaster Bible miscues down the stretch, scoring the set's final three points off of errors to force a fifth set.
The Express trailed by a 5-1 margin in the fifth set but the tide quickly turned. Kaylor, who received possession of the ball at 5-2 following a Lancaster Bible attacking error, rattled off four-straight service aces to elevate the Express to a 7-5 lead. Both teams would battle before the score would be tied at 11 aside following a Chargers attacking error. A bad set by Eckels preceded an attacking error by Demko, placing Wells ahead 13-11.
A clutch service ace by Nipps placed Wells ahead 14-11 before a kill by junior Paul Hernon (New Hartford, N.Y.), assisted by Bayly, granted Wells their first-ever victory over the Chargers. The Express earned their third five set victory of the year after entering the season without winning a five setter.
The Chargers, who utilized the minimum number of players required on the court (six), saw a whopping 25 kills from Demko to lead both teams. Eckels assisted 44 of his team's 57 kills while four players, including a team-best 15 by Eckels, racked up double-digit dig totals.
As the team's lone graduating senior student-athlete, Bayly was recognized prior to the match against Lancaster Bible College for his contributions to the program across its three year tenure as a varsity program at Wells.
The Express return to action Sat., Mar. 8 as they face-off against Cazenovia at 11:00 a.m. on their campus before playing the Nittany Lions of Penn St.-Altoona at 1:00 p.m.