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Volleyball rallies past Springfield

By David Rothstein

How well the men's volleyball team played in its thrilling 3-2 victory over visiting Springfield College Wednesday night was matched only by how poorly the referees (all of 'em) called the contest. Call it a Comedy of Officiating Errors.

After all the dust had settled, all the feet been stomped, all the exasperated glares glared, all the arms upraised in wonder . . . raised up . . . After all that, MIT had itself a fancy 15-17, 15-12, 16-14, 10-15, 15-12 win to even its record at 3-3 (2-1 conference record).

MIT plays in the New England Conference of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

In victory, the Engineers did what they had not done for a while in practice: they played inspired ball. Well, most of the time.

With an offense led by outside hitters Faris ("yes, I have played more beach ball than you") Hitti '92 (36 kills, at a .415 clip) and Jeff Evernham '91 (15 kills) and middle hitter Garry Moorer '93 (18 kills, .469), and a defense keyed by strong blocking, MIT was able to control the visiting Chiefs, despite Springfield's scrambling defense and the strong hitting of senior captain Jim Groeneveld.

"We played more intensely than in other matches," said second-year coach Sean Tierney '87, who noted in particular MIT's ability to control the middle of the net (both on offense and defense) as having contributed to the win.

The officiating, said Tierney, was "bad on both sides."

Hitti and team captain Alan Peyrat '92 did practically all of the passing during the match, and were able on the most part to handle Springfield's serving game, feeding setter Jim Szafranski '92. Hitti and Peyrat did have some trouble with the Chiefs' short service in Game 4, a game the Engineers desperately wanted to win to avoid the rally-scoring final frame.

Under rally-scoring rules, invoked if a match goes to a fifth game, each serve results in a point: If the serving team wins the rally, it gains a point and retains the serve; if the serving team loses the rally, the receiving team gains a point and takes over the serve. In short, a deficit of even three or four points can be deadly.

MIT opened the final game flirting with death, as it fell behind, 8-4. But after MIT won its fifth point, Peyrat (12 kills on an injured right shoulder) served five straight points to pull MIT out to a 10-8 lead that it would not give up.

Moorer had a strong solo block in that key run, bringing his match total to five. He also blocked for game point in the Game 3 16-14 win.

Szafranski hustled around the court and used his hitters well: Hitti and Evernham on the strong side, Peyrat on the weak side, and Moorer and Javier ("I really can't dig with two hands") Segovia '93 (11 kills) in the middle.

And sophomore Danny Alvarez played quality minutes in the final game, replacing a fading Evernham.

MIT's next home match is on March 1, when the Engineers host New York University at 7 pm in the duPont Gymnasium.