Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wilkes Men’s Volleyball Wins First MAC Match during Tri-Match Sweep of Misericordia and York (NY)

(Photo courtesy of Wilkes University Sports Information)
WILKES-BARRE – Brian Schumacher helped lead the Wilkes University men’s volleyball team to its first-ever Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) victory and a tri-match sweep with 18 kills during the Colonels two matches Wednesday evening in the Marts Center. First, Wilkes beat Misericordia University 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-23) in conference action before finishing the night with a 3-0 non-conference sweep of York College (NY) (25-8, 25-20, 29-27).

Wilkes now stands at 1-3 in the first season of MAC play and 4-11 overall. Misericordia fell to 0-3 in the MAC and are 6-7 overall after defeating York in its second match of the evening. York is 1-5 overall after the tri-match action.

The Colonels led early in the first set against Misericordia and still held a 16-14 lead before four-straight points for the Cougars put them ahead to stay as they won the first set by a 25-22 score.

Wilkes would even the match at a set apiece by taking the second set 25-22. The Colonels jumped out to leads of 3-0, 5-2, and 8-5 early in the set. Misericordia then tied the score five times before taking its first lead at 18-17. Wilkes would retake the lead at 20-19 and a kill by Dylan Smith and service ace by Schumacher extended the lead to 22-20. Another kill by Smith put Wilkes ahead 23-21 and with set point on the line Cole Hefner and Andrew Potter combined for a block.

The teams traded points early in the third set until Wilkes went on a four-point run to take an 11-6 lead. Potter recorded a kill for the first point and then Jones Mensah and Schumacher combined for a block. Mensah continued his strong play at the net with a solo block on the next point and Schumacher finished the run with a kill. A three-point run then put the Colonels ahead 15-8 before the Cougars scored six consecutive points to make it 15-14 before Smith stopped the run with a kill. A kill by Hefner and two in a row by Daniel Sales put Wilkes ahead 19-15 and Wilkes held a four-point lead until 24-20 when Misericordia scored four straight to tie the set. The Colonels turned things around with a block by Hefner and Mensah and then a kill by Sales to end the set with a 26-24 win and jumped ahead 2-1 in the match.

With Wilkes looking to close out the match in four sets it was Misericordia that jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Colonels would come back and grabbed their first lead of the set at 9-8 on a Sales kill. The Cougars would immediately regain the lead until Wilkes battled back again to take a 16-15 advantage after a Mensah kill. Two kills by Hefner sandwiched around and a Cougars error stretched the Colonel lead 19-16. Misericordia closed to within one point at 23-22 but Wilkes scored two of the final three points including a kill by Schumacher on match point to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.

Sales and Schumacher led Wilkes with eight kills in the match. Sales added 16 assists and seven digs while Schumacher had a team-high .357 hitting percentage and three blocks. Hefner added seven kills and a career-high six blocks and Smith recorded seven kills and a season-high 10 digs. Mensah contributed six kills and a career-best four blocks. Kyle Price had a season-high 12 digs to lead the Wilkes backline and Salvatore Purpura had 16 assists and five digs.

Ryan Miller had a match-high 28 kills for the Cougars. Bailey Brugler dished out 44 assists and Matt Churchill had 13 digs in the losing effort.

The Colonels were all over the Cardinals of York College in the opening set of the final match of the night sprinting out to 3-0, 9-2, and 15-3 leads. Wilkes scored the first three points on a kill by Schumacher, an ace by Potter, and a kill by Mensah. The Colonels continued to build their lead until finishing off the first set at 25-8 on a kill by Smith.

York had the lead early in the second set until Wilkes went on a six-point run to make the score 11-8. Mensah, Smith, and Purpura had kills in the run and Hefner recorded a solo block. From there the Colonels stretched their lead to as many as seven points and won by five at 25-20 on a Hefner kill to take the 2-0 set advantage.

The third set was a tight battle with York leading by as many as four points early and Wilkes pushing ahead by as many as six points in the middle part of the match. Once the Cardinals tied the score at 18 no team led by more than one until the Colonels strung together the final three points of the set. With the score 27-26 in favor of York, Mensah and Hefner put down back-to-back kills and then won the set 29-27 on an attack error by York. Wilkes fought off four York set-points to sweep the match 3-0.

Schumacher led the way with a career-high 10 kills. He put down 10 kills on 14 attacks with only one error for a blistering .643 hitting percentage. Potter’s nine kills, five digs, and four aces were all career-highs. Purpura and Sales provided the sets with 18 and 17 assists respectively in the match. Sales also tied his career-high with seven aces. Brian Vu set a season-high with four kills and Joseph Gayton finished with a career-best three digs. Smith checked in with five kills and a team-best six digs.

Akil Vaughn led York with nine kills and six digs.

The Colonels remain home for their next match on Thursday, February 22 when MAC Freedom foe Alvernia University travels to the Marts Center for a 7:00 p.m. match.

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