(Springfield, Mass.) The top ranked Rivier University Men's Volleyball earned a pair of wins this weekend at the Springfield College Invitational and improve their record to 7-1 overall on the season.
In the opening game on Friday night, the #1 Raiders were unable to find an answer to #3 New Paltz State as they fell in three straight sets by scores of 25-19, 25-18 and 25-18. Junior Chris Markuson (Cupertino, California) led the way for Rivier, who suffered their first loss of the season. Markuson laced 8 kills while junior Sam Kazlas (Allentown, PA) added 5 kills in the three set defeat. Freshman Tyler Blank (Rochester, NY) contributed 20 assists and senior libero Matt Bynon (Burnt Hills, NY) was the team's dig leader with 8.
On day two of the invitational, the #1 Raiders were able to cruise past Bard University in three sets as a warm-up for their rematch with #2 Springfield College. Against Bard, Rivier saw freshman Ian Wolski (Westfield, Mass.) record his career high with 12 kills and a .333 hitting percentage while junior Brendan Tutino (Manorville, NY) added a .526 hitting percentage with 11 kills. Freshmen Matthew Ortiz (Los Angeles, CA) and Matt LaSance (Madison, Conn.) each had 18 assists and sophomore Mike Hovnanian (Methuen, Mass.) added 14 digs for the Raiders.
In the last game of the weekend for the top ranked Rivier, they were matched up with the hosts #2 Springfield College. It was just two weeks ago that the Raiders were able to stop the Pride's 30 game win streak against Division III opponents and de-throne them for the #1 ranking. This game was one for the ages as it appeared early that Rivier would earn their second straight win over the Pride after the Raiders posted scores of 25-23 and 25-20 to open the match. However Springfield would battle back on their home court as they stayed alive with a 25-19 3rd set win and forced a decisive 5th set with a 25-22 4th set triumph. In the end it was Rivier who was able to pull out a thrilling 19-17 fifth set win as they finished the Invite with a 2-1 record.
Rivier saw four student-athletes reach double-digit kills in the win over #2 Springfield as Markuson led the way with 17. Senior Aaron Almario (Alhambria, CA) added 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage while junior Shane Spellman (Norwich, Conn.) and senior Terence Matatall (Danville, NH) recorded 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Kazlas and Blank were the other two Raiders to record kills in the win. Blank added 50 assists to his remarkable start and Bynon was the dig leader with 9.
The #1 Raiders are now 7-1 overall this season and own an incredible 3-1 record against teams who rank #5 or higher in the AVCA Top-15 Coaches Poll.
Next up for Rivier will be a tough road game against Great Northeast Athletic Conference foe Emmanuel College on Wednesday night. Game time is set for 7pm in Boston, Mass.