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Men...s Volleyball Sets Ace Record in Rout Serves 27 Aces in Win Over South Vermont

By Travis Johnson
SPORTS EDITOR

The MIT Men’s Volleyball Team (21-8) politely demolished visiting South Vermont College 30-6, 30-10, 30-6 on Tuesday night, setting a team record with 27 service aces and winning in a blistering 46 minutes.

In volleyball, the team that serves is at a small disadvantage because the receiving team has the first opportunity to set up a spike, which is much harder to handle than the serve itself. The result is that in the typical volleyball match, the serve goes back and forth between teams, with the winner managing to hold serve slightly more often.

Tuesday night wasn’t the typical volleyball match. MIT’s experience, size, and talent broke the equilibrium and allowed MIT to convert on serve after serve, either with an ace or a hit on the following play.

Southern Vermont (1-6) is in their first season of college volleyball, and their lack of experience and history was apparent Tuesday. While MIT used complicated plays with decoy hitters and well timed attacks, Southern Vermont had one player serve underhand.

With the match so non-competitive, the Mountaineers took to laughing at their failed attempts to handle Engineer serves and their three fans gave a standing ovation both times they strung together consecutive points.

MIT, by contrast, remained serious and intense, hitting with all their strength and blocking the rare returns by the Mountaineers. As embarrassing as a blowout loss is, it is downright insulting when the other team plays with less than 100 percent effort.

Statistically, it was a landmark night for the Engineers. The team hit an Institute record 27, Praveen Pamikimukkala ’08 had a .833 hitting percentage (compare that to a team average of .273 on the season), and Randolph H. Li ’08 set career highs with 7 kills and 2 blocks.

After the best stretch of the night for Southern Vermont, a 3-1 run in the third game to make the score 16-6 MIT, the Engineers broke serve and Ryan G. Dean ’08 took over from there.

Serving and playing setter, Dean powered a 14-0 run that ended the match. Recording aces on 7 of his 13 serves, and racing up to play setter on the rest, Dean could do no wrong. One serve barely cleared the top of the net, and another would have been out had the Mountaineers not fielded it.

As if to put an exclamation point on the night, Dean’s final serve was scorching ace, perfectly placed in the back corner to seal the win for his team.

MIT has one more regular season game, at Lesley this Thursday, before the conference tournament to be held at Endicott College starting Friday March 31st.