The MIT men’s volleyball team opened their season with three matches last week against Wentworth, Lesley, and Elms. The Engineers, who are ranked No. 8 in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 15 Poll, won all of their matches to start the season 3-0.
In the opener for both squads, the MIT men’s volleyball team registered a 27-25, 25-20, 25-19 win over NECVA New England Division foe Wentworth Institute of Technology on Tuesday night. MIT took an early 3-0 lead before Wentworth scored three quick points to earn the first of 15 ties in the opening game. A back-and-forth battle ensued before the Engineers took a 19-16 lead. However, the hosts would not go away quietly, rallying to tie the score at 19, and, after being down 23-19, battled back to tie the score at 23-all. Facing match point at 23-24 and 24-25, Wentworth evened the score both times, but an attack error at 26-25 gave MIT a 27-25 win in game one.
Wentworth raced out to an 8-2 lead in the second game only to see the Engineers use an 11-5 spurt and tie the game at 13. The game would eventually be tied at 15 before MIT pulled ahead 22-17. Two quick Leopard points pulled the hosts within three, but the Engineers took a 2-0 lead with a 25-20 win. After two quick ties to open the third game, MIT scored four straight points to take a 6-2 advantage, a lead it would not relinquish. Wentworth pulled within a pair at 8-6, but a 6-1 run by the visitors extended the lead to 14-7, en route to a 25-19 win.
The Engineers then topped cross-town foe Lesley University, 25-9, 25-13, 25-7, on Thursday night. Malcolm K. Bean ’11 paced the Engineers (2-0, 2-0 NECVA) with eight kills and three blocks as Matt P. Hohenberger ’13 added eight kills of his own. In the first set, Lesley took a 2-0 edge on back-to-back errors by the visitors. The Lynx went back on top at 4-3. The Cardinal and Gray responded with 11 unanswered points to gain some breathing room. Lesley rallied with consecutive points to pull back within eight (14-6) but that was as close as the Lynx came the rest of the set, as Hohenberger’s service ace iced a 25-9 MIT victory.
Evan P. Wang ’14 opened the second set with an ace of his own helping the Engineers race out to a 7-1 advantage. The Lynx stayed within striking distance, getting to within 9-4 and 18-11, before the Engineers scored seven of the last nine points, taking a 25-13 victory on a Lynx serving error at set point. MIT established a 7-3 lead in the final set with a Bean block later increasing the margin to 12-4. An emphatic Hohenberger kill made it a 17-6 contest, as the visitors took a 25-7 decision.
On Saturday, Kenneth M. Siebert ’14 smashed a match-high nine kills as Timothy R. Lee ’11 handed out 30 assists to help lead the Engineers to a 25-12, 25-13, 25-18 sweep of the Elms College Blazers.
MIT opened up a 10-6 lead in the first set before going on a 10-1 run highlighted by three Siebert kills, a kill from Benson M. George ’12 and Wang, and two George service aces to take a 20-7 lead. Elms pulled to within 10 on three occasions, but a kill by Bean, a service ace by Patrick J. Vatterott ’13, and a Blazers’ attacking error allowed MIT to claim the opening set 25-12.
The second frame played out in similar fashion as MIT established an early 13-8 lead and used an 11-4 run to post a 24-12 advantage. Elms’ Michael Martin drilled a kill to halt the run but an error on the ensuing serve attempt gave the Engineers a 25-13 win and a 2-0 lead in the match. In the third stanza, MIT built a 21-13 lead before Elms rallied to score five of the next eight points to pull within six (24-18). From there, a service error by Elms resulted in a win for the Engineers.
George and Vatterott both downed eight kills and hit above a .600 clip for the match as MIT was .333 as a team through three sets. Caine L. Jette ’10 notched a match high 10 digs as Jeremy J. Velazquez ’12 recorded nine digs to lead MIT’s defensive effort.
The Engineers will play their next home match vs. Emerson College on Thursday, January 27th in Rockwell Cage at 7 p.m.