(Boston, Mass.) The #2 Rivier University Men's Volleyball team extended their Great Northeast Athletic Conference winning streak on Wednesday evening as they took a four set decision from Emmanuel College. Rivier improves to 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the GNAC while Emmanuel falls to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in GNAC play.
Rivier battled to 25-23 and 25-19 wins in the first and second sets. The Saints then rebounded and took set three, 25-19. The Raiders came from behind to pull out the fourth and deciding set, 25-20, for the 3-1 match win.
The Saints held a 13-9 lead in the opener, before Riv went on an 8-3 run to take a 17-16 lead after a kill by GNAC Player of the Week, junior Chris Markuson (Cupertino, Calif.). Four ties were then forged, before Riv posted a 23-22 edge. Two Emmanuel errors then sealed the deal and the visitors pulled out the 25-23 win in the first.
Despite a two-point advantage by EC in the early-going, the Raiders nearly led end-to-end in the second. Riv built a six-point differential after two consecutive kills from Terrence Matatall (Danville, N.H.) to go out in front, 21-15. Again, back-to-back attack errors ended it for the Saints and Rivier came away with the 25-19 set two win.
It was Emmanuel taking charge early in the third and the Saints led throughout. The hosts surged out in front by as many as seven at 12-5, after a solo block by Zach Whitermore (Whitehall, Pa.). The Saints built a five point spread at 21-16 late in the set, after a Whitermore kill. EC then closed it out on a 4-3 run, taking advantage of a pair of hitting errors by the Raiders. Emmanuel's 25-19 set three win forced the fourth and deciding set.
A fifth set looked promising for the hosts, as they jumped out to a 13-8 lead midway through the fourth, after a kill by Ryan Kessler (Santa Clarita, Calif.). The two clubs traded two points apiece and EC held a 15-10 lead. The visitors then went on an incredible 15-5 run, backed by kills from Markuson and Sam Kazlas (Allentown, Pa.), to turn the tables and take the 25-20 win in the fourth.
The Raiders' offense was led by Shane Spellman (Norwich, Conn.), who hammered down 11 kills. Markuson finished with 10 kills, 6 digs, 5 blocks and a pair of aces. GNAC Rookie of the Week Tyler Blank (Rochester, N.Y.) dished out 34 assists to go along with his 6 digs in the win.
Emmanuel junior Ashanti Jackson (Sacramento, Calif.) notched a double-double effort with his match-highs of 14 kills and 10 digs. Whitermore ended the night with 12 kills, 3 digs and 2 aces. Junior setter Sean Baxley (Saint James, N.Y.) handed out a match-high 38 helpers and Ernie Gurule (Los Angeles, Calif.) gathered 7 digs in the effort for the Saints.
EC will be back in action again tomorrow night, when the Saints travel to Paxton, Mass. for a 7:00 PM match at Anna Maria College.