Courtesy Southern Vermont Athletics
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College men's volleyball team took care of its second New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match of the year on Saturday, downing Daniel Webster College 3-0 at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
The win moves SVC to 8-4 on the season and 2-0 against the league while the Eagles fall to 1-5 on the year and 1-2 in NECC action. Southern Vermont swept the match with set scores of 25-18, 25-15, and 25-17.
Mountaineer senior Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, California) led all players with 12 kills while adding four digs and a service ace to his line. SVC freshman Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, California) recorded a .579 hitting percentage, landing 11 kills while not committing a single hitting error on 19 total attack attempts; he also added three aces and five digs to his line.
SVC senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, California) added nine kills and just one attacking error on 15 swings (.579) while registering a match-best four service aces, and classmate Herson Canta (Lagunitas, California) helped run the offense with 35 assists on the day. Fellow senior Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, New York) chipped in with five kills and a service ace to go with his match-high nine digs.
Eagle junior libero James Kenney (Coventry, Rhode Island) tied Fitzgerald's nine digs for the visitors while junior captain Ryan Howdeshell (Fairbanks, Alaska) followed with eight digs and five kills to go with a team-best 11 assists. He shared the setting duties with junior Tommy Reyes (Providence, Rhode Island) who tallied eight assists to go with six digs and seven kills, tying the team-high shared by senior Joel Hendrix (Kane'ohe Hawai'i).
SVC hit .367 as a team on the day, committing just 10 attacking errors on 90 swings. Daniel Webster finished with a .127 hitting percentage with 13 errors on 71 total attack attempts. Southern Vermont had a slight 32-31 edge in digs while the Eagle net defense topped that of the hosts with a 7-5 advantage in total blocks.
Early action saw the two sides go back-and-forth with SVC taking a few small leads. The Mountaineers led 6-4 when DWC used a pair of Hendrix service aces and two kills to score five unanswered points and take its first lead of the day (8-6). A Dighton kill preceded two straight Ramirez service aces as Southern Vermont scored three unanswered points to tie the set at 9-9, and the hosts then put down five kills during an 8-2 run that put them ahead by five (18-13). The teams traded points as the Mountaineers inched closer to their 25th point until three unanswered scores put the frame 24-17. DWC was able to get one more point off an SVC service error, but Walley then went up and slammed home the set winner for the 25-18 victory.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the beginning of the second stanza behind a kill from both Fitzgerald and Walley, but Daniel Webster trimmed it to 7-5 with SVC mishaps and a pair of Hendrix kills. Southern Vermont increased its lead with an 8-2 run highlighted by two Dighton kills and a service ace from the senior, giving his team a comfortable cushion that would last through the remainder of the set. Hendrix and Reyes landed kills to help DWC score three unanswered points (16-11), but Southern Vermont then responded with six straight scores, two coming on consecutive Ramirez kills, to take a commanding 22-11 lead. A pair of SVC errors gave way for Daniel Webster to grab three more unanswered scores, but SVC then sent it to set-point with a kill by both Dighton and Ramirez. Reyes tallied a kill of his own to extend the frame, only to toss up a service error on the next point to give Southern Vermont a 2-0 match lead with the 25-15 set victory.
Neither side could pull away through the first half of the third game as the Eagles pushed to prolong the contest. Ramirez and Dighton notched kills during a 3-0 SVC run for the Mountaineers to go up 7-5, but four DWC players each recorded a kill as the guests tied the set at 11-11. Southern Vermont then scored six of the next eight points with the last coming on a nice dump kill by Canta; the only two Daniel Webster scores during that stretch came from SVC service errors. After Howdeshell and junior Darrien Mason (Farmington, Connecticut) teamed up for a block, Dighton served up two straight aces for the Mountaineers to score five straight points to take a 22-14 advantage. DWC went on a quick 3-1 run to close the deficit to 23-17, but Southern Vermont then pushed it to match-point on an assisted block by Walley and sophomore Elmer Olivares (Miami Florida). Olivares used his momentum from that point to go up and smack a set by Canta down to the floor to finish off the sweep with the 25-17 third-set win.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday for NECC matchups as the Mountaineers host Newbury College for a 7 p.m. start and Daniel Webster visits Regis College for a 5 p.m. tilt.