AURORA, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted a 3-1 victory over the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Saturday evening at the Farenthold Athletic Wing. Wells, who also posted a 3-1 loss to Penn St.-Behrend in the day's final match, exited play with a 3-3 overall record and secured their first North Eastern Athletic Conference victory of the year.
For the first time in five matches, the Express picked up a win over SUNY Poly via set scores of 25-22, 29-27, 16-25 and 25-22. Despite playing in four competitive sets, Wells fell to Penn St.-Behrend in four (20-25, 25-21, 20-25 and 22-25). SUNY Poly exited play with a 4-3 overall record while the Lions concluded the day with a 4-1 mark.
In the match against Penn St.-Behrend, freshman Jack Battumur (Denver, Colo.) shattered the single-match team record for digs with 27 to his credit. The previous record was set by C.J. Bayly '14 on Mar. 8, 2014 against Penn St.-Altoona. The team's 49 assists against the Lions were the second-most by Wells in any match dating back to their first varsity season in 2012.
Against SUNY Poly, Wells was led by eight kills from sophomore Liam Kaylor (Falls Church, Va.). Freshman Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) chipped in with seven of his own while five players reached the five kill plateau. Freshman Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) set up 29 of his team's 34 kills while Battumur picked up 11 digs for Wells.
Wells eked out a 25-22 victory in the opening set against the Wildcats, using three kills on four swings from Kaylor to lead the way. In the second set, Wells was able to stave off a Wildcats rally after leading by a 22-19 margin at one point. Down 24-23, the Express took advantage of an attacking error by SUNY Poly and a service ace from John Farruggia (West Winfield, N.Y.). A Perdicho kill preceded a SUNY Poly attacking error to secure the second set for the Express.
SUNY Poly took the third set after the Wells offense went quiet with the score tied at 12. The Wildcats rattled four-straight points from there and later scored five-straight points with the score in their favor, 18-14. A Dan O'Connor kill forced a fourth set that Wells won, despite hitting a collective -.030 after committing 10 attacking errors.
Against Penn St.-Behrend, Wells allowed 41 points off of attacking and service errors combined. Despite registering more kills than the Lions (52-to-38), Wells' miscues on attack and from behind the baseline ultimately doomed the Express in the day's final match. Farruggia and Kaylor each tallied 13 kills while junior J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.) tallied 12 kills for Wells. Litvin posted 44 assists while Battumur's record-setting defensive evening was a highlight for the Express.
An attack error by Ty Sheehan gave Wells late life in the first set, trailing by a 20-19 margin. Two kills by Eric Theiss preceded two attacking errors and made an Express comeback impossible – a Theiss kill at set point lifted the Lions to the early 1-0 lead. In the second set, Wells led by a 14-5 margin and held off Penn St.-Behrend despite allowing the visitors to cut the score to 24-21.
Penn St.-Behrend carried over a late surge from the second set into the third set, holding off Wells despite allowing the Express to cut the score to 18-16 following a Podczasy kill. From there, three attack errors and a Theiss kill resulted in four-straight points for the Lions, who went onto capture the third set by a 25-20 margin. A Perdicho kill in the fourth set cut the Lions lead to 23-20, but a Penn St.-Behrend time out settled the Lions, who went on to capture a 25-22 fourth set victory to end the match.
Wells returns to action Friday, Feb. 6 as they face-off against Thiel and Medaille on the campus of Nazareth College starting at 2 p.m.