Monday, February 26, 2018

Wilkes Men’s Volleyball Completes Final Tri-Match

WILKES-BARRE – The Wilkes University men’s volleyball team hosted its final tri-match of the season at the Marts Center Sunday taking on two non-conference opponents. First the Colonels fell in their first five-set match of the season to New Jersey City University (25-17, 24-26, 25-20, 14-25, 13-15) before finishing the day with a 3-0 loss to Keuka College (16-25, 22-25, 23-25).

After today’s tri-match action Wilkes is now 5-14 overall while New Jersey City moved to 5-6 and Keuka improved to 4-8.

The first match of the day was a back-and-forth five-set affair between Wilkes and NJCU. The Colonels used a five-point run to grab an 8-3 lead in the opening set behind a Brian Schumacher ace and Cole Hefner and Dylan Smith combination block for the final two points in the run. Another five-point run stretched the Wilkes lead to 18-10 and the Colonels cruised into the 25-17 first-set victory.
In the second set the score was tied five different times until Wilkes scored five consecutive points to take a 19-17 lead. Smith had a kill to start the run and an ace to end it. The Colonels then led 23-20 after a Jones Mensah kill but the Gothic Knights scored six of the next seven points to even the match at a set apiece with the 26-24 victory.
Wilkes responded in the third set and two consecutive kills by Schumacher and another from Smith put the Colonels ahead 13-9. The Gothic Knights closed back in and with the score tied at 17 a Hefner service run helped Wilkes put away the third set. Hefner had one ace to go along with kills from Schumacher and Daniel Sales and a solo block by Andrew Potter in the six-point outburst. A Schumacher kill would end the third set at 25-20 and put Wilkes ahead 2-1 in the match.
NJCU jumped out to leads of 4-0, 12-6, and 18-11 in the fourth set as the Gothic Knights extended the match to a fifth and final set with a 25-14 victory.
In the final set the Colonels trailed 5-3 but gained their first lead after Mensah and Hefner connected on kills and NJCU had an attack error. The Colonels continued to lead as a Sales kill kept Wilkes ahead 11-9 and a Potter kill kept the score at 12-11. NJCU would then score four of the final five points to take the fifth set 15-13 and win the match 3-2.
Schumacher led the Wilkes attack with a career-high 15 kills and he also set his career-high with four digs. Sales ended the match with his third double-double of the season and tenth of his career with 24 assists and 10 digs. He was just one kill away from his third career triple-double. Mensah tied his career-high with eight kills and Smith added six kills and tied a season-high with 10 digs. Potter set career-highs with eight digs and three blocks while Kyle Price had nine digs and Salvatore Purpura finished with 20 assists and five digs. Hefner led the Colonels with four blocks.
As a team the Colonels had a season-high 50 digs in the match.
Dave Etienne led the Gothic Knights with 13 kills and Julian Moreira added 12 kills and six blocks. J.J. Berdecia and Edgar Crespo each had 14 digs.
Keuka jumped ahead of Wilkes 7-1 in the opening set of the final match of the day after defeating NJCU 3-1 in the day’s second match. The Colonels were unable to cut the first set deficit to less than four points and eventually dropped the set 25-16.
Wilkes hung with the Wolves in the second set before taking its first lead of the match at 14-13 following a kill from Smith and a Wolves error. The Colonels built their lead to two points at 21-19 after a Potter kill and another Wolves error but it was Keuka that scored six of the next seven points to win the set 25-22.
The Colonels then sprinted out to a 7-1 lead in the third set but Keuka chipped away at the lead and eventually gained the 12-11 advantage. The Wolves would stretch their lead to 19-12 and then led 23-17 before Wilkes made one last run by scoring six in a row to cut the score to 23-22. In the run, Mensah and Smith had kills, Hefner had a solo block, and Schumacher nailed an ace. Keuka then fended off the Wilkes run by winning two of the next three points to take the set 25-23 and sweep the match.
Potter and Schumacher led Wilkes with six kills each and Smith added five kills and a team-high seven digs. Sales finished with 14 assists and Purpura added nine assists in directing the offense.
Connor Gail had 13 kills and JP Nery added 12 for the Wolves while Chris Corcoran dished out 38 assists.
The Colonels are next in action when they travel to Chester, Pa. for a Middle Atlantic Conference match against Widener on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

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