BUFFALO, N.Y. – In its first foray into North Eastern Athletic Conference play, the Wells College men's volleyball team posted back-to-back 3-1 losses to Hilbert College and D'Youville College on Saturday at Medaille College. The Express fall to 4-7 on the young season and to 0-2 within NEAC play.
Hilbert, who finished the day with a 5-5 overall record and a NEAC mark of 2-1, dispatched Wells by scores of 25-21, 25-16, 22-25 and 25-21. D'Youville (4-8, 1-2 NEAC) lost the first set to the Express, 25-22, but rallied for three-straight victories (25-15, 25-12, 25-22).
Against Hilbert, Wells was led by senior John Farruggia (New Hartford, N.Y.) and his 13 kills while freshman Kody McCracken (Wellsboro, Pa.) reached double-digits with 11 kills. Senior Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.) set up 27 of his team's 41 kills while junior Liam Kaylor (Falls Church, Va.) scooped up 10 digs for his team in the losing effort. McCracken also led players from both teams with six block assists and five service aces.
Senior J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.) eclipsed 500 career kills in the match against D'Youville.
With the score tied at 11 in the first set, Hilbert pulled away with back-to-back points off of a service error by Wells and a service ace. The Express would not lead again in the opening set as Hilbert hit .200 in the frame while the Express committed eight attacking errors and made only nine kills against the Hawks.
A kill by sophomore Thomas Bogarowski (Hanover Township, Pa.) brought Wells to within one point, 12-11, in the second set but the Express committed seven errors down the stretch to allow Hilbert to cruise to a 25-16 second set win. Ultimately, the Hawks posted five-straight points ahead by 20-16, easily taking the 2-0 match lead with the result.
Wells rebounded in the third set, hitting .308 with 12 kills on 26 total attacks as the team opened up a 10-5 lead in the early goings. Hilbert came back to tie the set at 18 aside, but the Express used a Farruggia kill to take the lead for good. Farruggia added a kill at set point and McCracken hammered home a pass from Nipps to cut into the Hilbert match lead, 2-1.
The Express and Hawks battled to a 13-13 tie in the decisive fourth set, but ultimately Hilbert won three of the set's next four points and hit a commanding .440 (14-3-25) to down Wells and move to 2-0 within conference play.
McCracken held his team's lead in kills against D'Youville, registering 12. Farruggia cracked double-digit kill totals for the second-straight match, posting 11 while tallying nine digs defensively. Nipps once again led his team with assists, dishing out 28, while finishing second with eight digs.
Wells rebounded from a tough loss to Hilbert by capturing the opener against D'Youville by a 25-22 margin. Leading by a 19-10 score, the Express allowed the Spartans to come all the way back and tie the match at 22. Following an Express timeout, a D'Youville service error preceded a McCracken kill and block assists from freshman Jonathan Haines (Wellington, Fla.) and McCracken to go ahead 1-0 in the match.
D'Youville overwhelmed the Express in the second set, leading by a 7-1 score and eventually building a commanding 20-9 lead. With freshman Ryan Turner (Liverpool, N.Y.) serving at set point, Wells ran off four-straight points but a service error eventually knotted the match at one set apiece.
The third set was more of the same as the Spartans opened up a dominant 15-3 lead before eventually claiming victory by a 25-12 margin. D'Youville was unable to set down Wells as easily in the fourth set, playing the Express to a 22-22 score, but three-straight Spartans points put an exclamation point on the four-set victory.
Wells will take on the reigning NEAC Champions from Medaille on Sunday, Feb. 14, taking on the host Mavericks at high noon in Buffalo, N.Y.