Volleyball earns high seed for playoffs


via gonyuathletics.com

Klein led the Violets with 21 total kills during Saturday’s two matches.

Michael Thompson, Contributing Writer

The NYU men’s volleyball team won two conference contests on Saturday at the UVC Crossover event, positioning themselves for a high seed in April’s United Volleyball Conference playoffs.

The Violets, ranked ninth in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, went into Saturday’s matches looking to rebound after a tough loss to Stevens Institute of Technology earlier in the week.

In their first match of the day, the Violets defeated Penn State Erie, The Behrend College 3-0, 25-16, 25-17, 26-24. That win was followed up by another Violet victory over Bard College, also in straight sets 25-15, 25-21, 25-17.

Saturday’s victories were a team effort, with a number of stellar performances and career-highs, primarily from a core of sophomore players that are improving as the season progresses. Junior outside hitter Nick Benson’s standout season continued with an impressive all-around game against Penn State-Behrend. He led all players with 14 kills, hitting .276 on 29 attempts. In addition, Benson racked up 4 digs.

Sophomore outside hitter Chase Klein starred alongside Benson. The outside hitter had 11 kills, 2 of which were aces. He also had a match-best .450 hitting percentage. Klein was the Violets’ offensive leader in their second match against Bard, racking up 15 kills and one block, with an even more impressive .714 hitting.

Sophomore opposite Will Kozloski had a career game against PSU, finishing with 10 kills and 10 digs, both new highs for him. He followed up his stellar performance with another solid one against Bard, with six kills, two assists and five digs.

Freshman setter Jaime Rivera made an immediate impact in his first match for the Violets. Rivera didn’t play against PSU, but he remained focused when called upon in the second match. Against Bard, the freshman setter notched 28 assists, leading the way for NYU. He also helped on the defensive front, racking up four total blocks.

Other notable performances included sophomore setter Patrick Merrick, who led the team with 22 assists against PSU. Setter Derrick Chiu, also a sophomore, contributed significantly to the match with 15 assists in the third and most decisive set.

Sophomore outside hitter Jake Getz also had a career day with 10 kills, two service aces and two block assists against Bard. He had a team-best 10 digs in the match, tying his previous career mark.

The Violets, now 9-5 with a 4-1 conference record, look to further solidify their seed in the playoffs. They will host Rutgers University-Newark on March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Coles Sports Center, which is hosting its final slate of spring sports before renovations begin. With a number of games still left to be played this season, the Violets will look to use the momentum from Saturday’s wins to help in their quest for the postseason.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 9 print edition. Email Michael Thompson at [email protected].