ELMIRA, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted back-to-back three set losses Friday evening on the campus of Elmira College to begin the Mark Twain Cup. The Express fell to Stevenson University by a 3-0 score (25-19, 25-13, 25-19) before falling to No. 6 Nazareth College by the same score (25-20, 25-18, 25-12).
Stevenson received Top 15 votes in the AVCA Division III Men's Volleyball Coaches' Poll earlier in the year while Nazareth, one of the top teams in NCAA Division III on a year-in, year-out basis, entered play Friday night ranked sixth in the nation according to the poll. Against Nazareth, Wells hit a collective -.074 on the match, a season-low mark and was the team's lowest since last season against the very same team.
Against Stevenson, the Express saw a team-leading eight kills from junior J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.). Freshman Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) set up 19 of his team's 27 total kills while junior John Farruggia (West Winfield, N.Y.) notched a team-leading nine digs for Wells. The Nazareth match saw a team-best eight kills from sophomore Alex Battey (Palmdale, Calif.), who committed only one error in 15 total attacks. Litvin set up 18 kills against the Golden Flyers while libero Jack Battumur (Denver, Colo.) posted 10 digs.
In the opening set against Stevenson, Wells led by a 17-15 margin but allowed the set's next six points. The Mustangs then scored 10 of the matches next 12 points, entering set two riding a huge wave of momentum. Wells was forced to burn both of their timeouts rather quickly as Stevenson jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the second set, eventually dropping the middle stanza by a 25-13 score. The third set saw Wells fall behind 4-0 very quickly and the Mustangs never looked back.
Versus the Golden Flyers, Wells trailed in the first set by only two points, 19-17, following a kill by Battey. The Express, however, immediately committed a service error and went on to lose the opener by a 25-20 margin. Once again in the mix of an exciting second set, a string of three attacking errors by Wells at 17-14 quickly put the frame out of reach. In the third set, Nazareth jumped out to a 17-8 score as the Express committed 10 errors in the third set alone, hitting -.241.
Wells concludes their quest for the Mark Twain Cup against the hosts from Elmira College at 4 p.m.