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NJIT Overpowers Men's Volleyball

By Daniel Wang
Associate Sports Editor

The men's volleyball team played in Du Pont Gymnasium, first against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, then against Roger Williams University. The Engineers dropped their match with NJIT in straight games, by scores of 159, 156, 1511, then went on to defeat Roger Williams in four games, 156, 158, 415, 1512. The team's record for the season is now 712.

NJIT tough on both sides

MIT managed to keep each of the three games with NJIT close at one point, only to see the Highlanders pull away. NJIT managed to come away with the wins because of big offensive plays, combined with an often impenetrable defense and numerous errors by the Engineers.

In the opening game, MIT fell behind, 61, but then managed to tie the game at 88 when NJIT had trouble winning points off of its serve. However, the Highlanders broke a 99 deadlock by running six consecutive points, aided by MIT errors, and some big blocks.

The Engineers did not fare much better in the second game. The game started pretty close, with the score tied at 44, but fortunes changed quickly. While NJIT players delivered a number of unreturnable spikes, the Engineers continued to make mistakes. MIT players even had trouble putting the serve in play, missing numerous serves.

At one crucial point, while behind 126, offensive hitter Bernard Chien '94 hit a serve which sailed long. Moments later, on game point, setter Satoshi Asari G was forced to hit a difficult shot, and ended up slapping the ball into the stands.

The Engineers began the third game playing much better than before, displaying some fire. Even though they turned over the service many times, huge spikes by Brian Vanden Bosch '95 prevented NJIT from putting extra points on the board.

The Highlanders took an 84 lead, with the help of some impressive blocks, but MIT rebounded, and went ahead, 98, off of a serve by Asari which landed into an unoccupied area of the court. Unfortunately, NJIT players tied and went ahead, by blocking spikes by Chien twice in a row, and then doing the same to Vanden Bosch.

With the score, 139, NJIT showed its defensive strength by blocking three consecutive MIT spikes, then saving another one before Bosch pushed the ball long.

NJIT's serve on match point went long, the Engineers made a comeback attempt, winning two points with offensive hitter Carmen Bellavia '94 serving, before he one of his serves found the net. The Highlanders won the match when Vanden Bosch went for a big spike, only to have the ball bounce off the net and back on to the MIT side of the court.

Bellavia led the team in kills, with 7 out of 26 attempts, followed by Chien, Christopher Chong '94, and Curtis Medeiros '97, who all had 6. Chien and Medeiros both made over 30 attempts, while Chong made only 10. Satoshi Asari led in the assists category, with 38.

Second Match of the Day

In the second match of the day, against Roger Williams University, the Engineers were able to get off to quick start. They won the first two games quite easily by keeping the opponent on the defensive.

In the second game, they had run up a 70 lead before the Hawks won four points in a row. MIT recovered, and allowed only two more points on the way to winning the game.

However, the results of the third game turned out to be disastrous. The Engineers were able to win points, but only when receiving, thereby not adding points to their score. Meanwhile, the Hawks were able to force errors while serving, and scored six points in a row to lead 102 before MIT scored again.

The MIT players were able to regroup for the fourth game, but Roger Williams gave them a good challenge. Roger Williams together six consecutive points to lead 93, displaying powerful spikes and a few incredible saves. Fortunately, the Engineers matched the feat to tie the game, with the score of 99.

Chien helped put Engineers ahead, 109, by planting a spike in the middle of the court, which flew off the hands of a diving defender. Another point soon after made it possible for the Engineers to stay ahead.

Roger Williams was in a position to tie the score again, when Vanden Bosch made yet another big kill to maintain the lead. Moments later, at 1312, a player from Roger Williams tried a similar spike, only to see the ball blocked by Asari and Christopher Chong '94. The game then ended when another Roger Williams player attempted an offensive play, and dumped the ball into the net.

Seeking EIVA playoffs

About her team's performance against NJIT, coach Cindy Gregory commented, "We were coming off our best week of competition. We had high expectations, so we were disappointed with the results." She also said that NJIT was one of MIT's toughest Division III opponents.

"The first two games [against Roger Williams University] were excellent," Gregory said. "In the third game our defense broke down." She also said that in general, "If we pass well and serve well, we're in the match;" she saw this as the missing the elements in the match against NJIT.

Gregory and her team still have hopes of qualifying for the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association playoffs at the end of the season. To do so, they must do well in their next and final matches, against Vassar College and Harvard University. The contests will take place at home, on Saturday, April 2.