ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted a 3-1 victory over Hilbert before falling to nationally-ranked Elmira in four sets. Following the 2015 Golden Flyer Invitational, the Express sport a 4-6 record exiting play this weekend.
The Express dropped the first set to Hilbert, 25-21, but captured the next three sets for victory via scores of 25-14, 26-24 and 25-21. Wells knocked off Elmira in the first set, 25-22, but dropped the next three (25-18, 25-21, 25-19). The Soaring Eagles are ranked No. 15 amongst all NCAA Division III programs according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Against Hilbert, freshman Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) set a Wells single match record with 53 assists, shattering the previous team record of 49 set last season against Bard. Offensively, Wells was led by freshman Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) and his 18 total kills while freshman Jack Battumur (Denver, Colo.) registered 19 digs defensively for the Express.
Junior John Farruggia (West Winfield, N.Y.) narrowly missed a double-double, posting 12 digs while hammering home nine kills for Wells. Senior Paul Hernon (New Hartford, N.Y.) also had a strong game for Wells, posting 10 kills on 16 total swings alongside only two errors while chipping in with two solo blocks and six block assists.
Despite dropping the first set, Wells took control of the match in a thrilling second set after being deadlocked at seven. Wells scored eight of the matches' next 10 points to capture a 15-9 lead and never looked back from there. The Express opened up a 5-0 lead in the third set but Hilbert rallied to tie the score at 24-24. Wells utilized a Hawks attacking error before Perdicho's terminal kill at set point carried both teams to a fourth set.
Wells won the fourth set 25-21 after the score was tied at 15 aside. Wells, however, used back-to-back errors by Hilbert to take the lead for good. Down the stretch, Farruggia posted two kills while sophomore Alex Battey (Palmdale, Calif.) used a kill, set up by Litvin, at match point to earn their fourth win of the season.
The Express posted a first set victory over Elmira, using two kills by Battey in the final four plays to capture the win. However, Elmira hit exactly .333 in each of the next three sets while Wells committed 17 attacking errors during the same time frame. Cumulatively, the Soaring Eagles posted an impressive 51 kills while Wells was limited to 40.
A service ace by freshman J.J. Ruhl (Lancaster, Pa.) in the fourth sets put Wells ahead by a 15-13 score, but Elmira scored the next 10 points to put the game away. The Express called a time out during the impressive stretch by the Soaring Eagles, but were unable to stop the run. A Mark Kawecki kill at match point ended any chance of a Wells upset over the nationally-ranked Soaring Eagles.
Wells returns to action Friday, Feb. 13 as they face-off against Hilbert at 6 p.m. on the campus of Medaille College. The Express will battle the host Mavericks the very next day at 10 a.m. before playing D'Youville at 2 p.m.