Thanks to a 2-0 start last weekend, the NYU men’s volleyball team has begun its season by climbing to 10th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association rankings.
The Violets began the season on Jan. 24 with back-to-back five-set comeback victories against Rutgers-Newark University and host Stevenson University. They fell behind Stevenson 2-0 before winning three straight close matches: 19-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-20, 20-18. Junior Nick Benson stood out during the first match recording 28 kills, eight digs and three service aces.
“These were our first two matches of the season, and we started off slow,” Benson said. “We showed a lot of resilience in the first match and proved that we can come back for a win. In the second match, we battled through the fatigue, and it was a group effort to get the win. We’re really excited about this team, and we’re going to keep improving and building towards our goal, to win the national championship.”
The Violets fell behind Rutgers 2-1 before winning the fifth set: 15-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20, 16-14. They let a four point lead slip in the fifth set before sophomore Chase Klein’s service ace to win the match. In both matches, the Violets were able to hold off four match points in fifth sets before ultimately winning the match.
Although the Violets fell behind in both matches, they have proven early that they can stay in matches and come back. Sophomore Derrick Chiu believes the team needs to capitalize on its superior talent to have a shot at the national championship.
“I think it was a good wake up call for our team,” Chiu said. “We know we have the talent, and we always have, but the near losses to two inferior teams made us realize how much harder we’re going to have to work in order for our talent to pay off for the rest of the season.”
Chase Klein and junior Colin Laporte helped put the Violets over the edge with 15 and 13 kills against Stevenson respectively. Senior Andrew Quirk also led the team with 19 digs, and Chiu and sophomore Patrick Merrick combined for 57 assists over the course of both matches.
“These matches were definitely not the best we could have played,” Merrick said. “Volleyball is a very team-oriented sport so it will take time for us to adjust to each other. We want to continue practicing and playing hard.”
The Violets will be back in action when they travel to Poughkeepsie, New York to face Vassar College on Jan. 29.
A version of this article appeared in the Jan. 9 print edition. Email Kyle at [email protected]