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Intercollegiate Volleyball CLub Wins Season Opener Tourney

By Rad Roberts
team member

The intercollegiate volleyball club extended its string of tournament victories by capturing the 1997 New England Collegiate Volleyball League Open title on Saturday. Over 300 athletes representing 30 collegiate volleyball teams from all over New England converged at MIT to compete in this event, which kicked off the official 1997 NECVL season.

In pool play, IVC defeated Babson College, Gordon College, Southern Connecticut State University, and the University of Vermont. Many IVC players contributed to these early victories. Maurice Chu G and Brian Rexing G provided stable passing and good offense, while Tony Lee G provided consistent setting. Sam Liu G had a flawless hitting record, and Jim Fleming G had many blocks in the middle. Rad Roberts G returned after missing the entire preseason with an ankle injury and contributed a few key hits and digs.

IVC emerged from pool play with an 80 record, earning the top seed for the single-elimination playoffs. The varsity volleyball team narrowly missed the playoffs, finishing third in their pool.

After a first round playoff, IVC faced Vermont again and easily defeated them 154, 1511.

In the semifinals against UMass Amherst, IVC fell behind in the first game 84. Strong hitting and blocking from Mitch Price G, along with the play of veterans Parry Husbands G and Tom Klemas G, helped IVC run off 11 unanswered points to win 158.

In the second game, UMass fought back to lead 115. However, Fleming, Steve Seel G, and John Modzelewski '98 contributed strong blocking and hitting, and Roberto Leon G and Gene Van Buren G played good defense. IVC managed to stifle their opponents' offense to rally again to win 1511.

The NECVL open finals pitted IVC against the University of New Hampshire in a high intensity battle. Veteran setter Koji Asari G raised his level of play by running down errant passes, deceiving the UNH defenders with perfect sets, serving hard, and digging hard hits. Husbands and Klemas pounded away at the UNH defenders with excellent serving and blistering hits to help IVC win a close first game. Consistent play led IVC to a 139 lead in the second game.

However UNH never gave up and capitalized on a weak IVC rotation to win 1513 to tie the match.

The third game tiebreaker was a nail-biter for fans and players alike. IVC and UNH traded points back and forth with IVC narrowly leading 86 at the midpoint. Klemas, Husbands, and Asari came alive with outstanding plays down the stretch. Price, Van Buren, Seel, Modzelewski, and Leon also helped by playing with virtually no errors.

Finally, 15 hours after the tournament started, IVC claimed the 1997 NECVL open championship with a 1512 win over UNH. This victory was especially sweet for new IVC players Seel and Fleming, whose consistent middle blocking helped IVC all day. They had never played at this level of competition before, and their success, as well as that of other players, can be attributed to hard work and excellent coaching by Satoshi Asari.

By winning the NECVL open, IVC has established itself as the team to beat in the NECVL this year. The IVC will play at Bradford College today. Their next home contest is against Gordon College in Rockwell Cage on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.