AURORA, N.Y. – Senior Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J) eclipsed the 1,500 assist threshold on Wednesday as the Wells College men's volleyball team defeated Keuka College in four sets at the Farenthold Athletic Wing. Wells moves to 7-14 overall on the season and to 3-5 within the North Eastern Athletic Conference while Keuka drops to 9-7 (4-4 NEAC).
Wells battled the visitors to a 26-24 victory in the first set before setting down the Wolfpack in convincing fashion in the second set, 25-16. Keuka would rally to take set three by a 25-23 score, but the Express posted a match-high 14 kills in the fourth set to earn its fifth-straight win against the Wolfpack dating back to Feb. 15, 2014.
Nipps, who entered the match with just under 1,500 assists across a three-year career, assisted 34 of his team's 47 kills on Wednesday. He also threw down eight kills on 14 errorless attacks, falling only two kills and one dig shy of the program's first-ever triple-double. He remains the all-time career assist record holder with 1,521 to his credit.
Sophomore Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) led the team in back-to-back games with 19 kills, tying for the second-most in a single match in program history once again. Freshman Ryan Turner (Liverpool, N.Y.) set a team record with five solo blocks while Perdicho, junior Liam Kaylor (Falls Church, Va.) and senior John Farruggia (New Hartford, N.Y.) combined for 33 digs on defense.
In the first set, Wells opened up a 15-7 lead after a Perdicho kill preceded four-straight miscues by Keuka attackers. The Wolfpack, however, would rally to win six-straight points to shrink a once-sizeable deficit to only one, 18-17, before a Wells timeout. Later in the set, tied at 24, a Perdicho kill came before his own assisted block alongside freshman Jonathan Haines (Wellington, Fla.) at set point.
Riding the momentum for the first set win, Wells was able to defeat the Wolfpack in the second set, 25-16. With Keuka up 7-5 on the Express, Farruggia's strong serving led Wells on a seven-point run that was capped off by a service ace, setting the score at 12-7. The Express cruised to the win, outscoring Keuka 15-to-9 immediately after a Wolfpack timeout. In total, Wells tallied 13 kills in the set, committing only three attacking errors, while Keuka hit in negative figures.
Keuka was able to steal one set from the Express, taking the third set 25-23. Wells maintained the led for the set up to 23-20, but the Wolfpack were able to score five-straight points to win the set after an Express service and attacking error yielded to three-straight kills by the visitors.
Wells bounced back to win the decisive fourth set, 25-23. Once again, the Express led from start to finish, eventually building a 21-14 lead before a brief Wolfpack comeback made things interesting. At match point, Keuka held on for three-straight points but a Farruggia kill, set up by Nipps, secured the win for the Express.
Keuka was led by Connor Hinman who tallied 16 kills while adding 14 digs for a double-double. Cooper Lyon registered a team-best 20 digs while Spencer Avery and Chris Corcoran had 21 and 19 assists, respectively.
The Express return to action on Saturday, Mar. 12 against D'Youville and Medaille on the campus of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively, in what will be key conference matches.