(Providence, R.I.) After a rough start last weekend at the SUNY Poly Invitational, the Rivier University Men's Volleyball team returned to their winning ways as they took three straight games at the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. The Raiders came out strong last night, sweeping both Baruch College and Mount Saint Vincent College in straight sets before edging out Hunter College in five sets earlier this morning.
The wins move the Rivier overall record to 4-3 and will welcome the AVCA #1 team in the country, Springfield College, on Wednesday night. Game time is scheduled for 7pm.
Game One: Rivier University 3, Baruch College 0 (Final, Fri. Night)
The Raiders were challenged in the first two sets and easily took care of business in the final set as they defeated Baruch by scores of 25-23, 28-26 and 25-14.
Junior Dashaun Graham (Highland Falls, N.Y.) highlighted the opening match for Rivier as he collected six kills, a .500 hitting percentage and five total blocks. Sophomore Cam Roth (Coventry, R.I.) was the kill leader with 11 on the night while senior Matt Heckler (Simi Valley, Calif.) added six kills & three total blocks of his own in the win. Senior Garrett Bucklin (Jamestown, R.I.) directed the offense with 33 assists and also controlled the backline with a team-high eight digs. Junior Dahnny Rogers (Penfield, N.Y.) also had a solid match defensively as he contributed seven digs.
Baruch was guided by Stephen Roach and Jacob Rudin, who registered 9 and 5 kills, respectively. Aaron Kim passed out 21 assists with the duo of Kyriakos Semertzidis & Nicholas Godino chipping in with nine digs each.
Game Two: Rivier University 3, Mount Saint Vincent College 0 (Final, Fri. Night)
The train kept rolling in the final match of the night for Rivier as they took the first two sets with ease before claiming their sixth consecutive set in extra fashion by set scores of 25-16, 25-17 and 27-25.
It was an offensive explosion as the team combined for a .391 hitting percentage and 48 kills. Most of the damage was done by Graham and sophomore David Smith (Clinton, Ohio). Graham recorded a .667 hitting percentage with 11 kills while Smith totaled 12 kills on his way to a .400 hitting percentage. Junior Khaynen Yocca (Pittsburgh, Pa. ) chipped in with eight kills while Bucklin complied 34 assists. Also shining bright in the late game was senior Grant Andler (Chicago, Ill.) who had six kills and a block solo.
Mount Saint Vincent was led by Jordan Steiger's eight kills with Scott Sawyer providing additional help with seven kills. Logan Dickover collected 23 helpers while also totaling two blocks.
Game Three: Rivier University 3, Hunter College 2 (Final, Sat. Morning)
Rivier pushed their set winning streak to eight before Hunter snapped that by winning sets 3 and 4 as the first 5-set match of the year went to the Raiders by set scores of 27-25, 25-21, 21-25, 16-25 and 15-9.
Andler was the only Raider to record double-digit kills as he led the team with 12 while also providing two key block solos and five digs. Graham and Smith each added nine kills as did Heckler to help Rivier to a weekend three-game sweep. Roth was outstand on both sides of the ball as he pounded out seven kills and scooped up 10 digs with Smith also recorded a 10-dig effort. Bucklin registered a career high with 43 assists and Rogers rounded out the lineup with eight digs.
Hunter, who was receiving votes in the AVCA Pre-Season poll, saw three student-athletes reach double figures in kills. Matthew Zukowski was the game-leader with 14 kills with Blake Hogan (13) and Qendrim Shala (11) also playing well offensively. Alex Helford registered 47 assists over the five sets and Joseph Muir picked up 14 digs.