On Tuesday the men’s volleyball team lost a close match to Hunter College three sets to two at Coles to drop to 2-2 on the season — a modest start for a team with national title hopes.
The Violets, who entered the game ranked 8th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association DIII poll, had trouble in the first set, with the Hunter Eagles opening on a 9-4 run. The team then called a timeout, regrouped, and played much better, but were unable to overcome the Eagle’s lead and fell 25-21.
The second set was very back and forth until a Hunter middle blocker Steven Tarquinio kill evened the score at 16. The Violets then went on a 6-1 run, leading to a 25-22 set victory.
In the third set there were eight lead changes and no team ever led by more than three points. Things looked to be going NYU’s way late, as they led 22-20, but Hunter won four of the next five points before NYU tied the score at 24 on a kill from junior outside hitter Chase Klein. Unfortunately, NYU then committed errors on consecutive points to give the set to Hunter 26-24.
NYU fought back strong with a strong fourth set, taking an early 10-6 lead. This lead remained for the rest of the fourth, with NYU going on runs each time Hunter came within a point. Ultimately they won the set 25-21 and the match was tied.
Much like the third set, the fifth saw Hunter win a nailbiter. The score was tied at 11 different points, with the final draw knotted at 13. In the end, first-year outside hitter Blake Hogan was the hero for Hunter, providing the final two kills.
The Eagles won by playing a much cleaner game than the Violets, only committing 21 errors to NYU’s 34. They were also very strong defensively, with 15.5 blocks to the Violets 10. Hunter hit the ball very well, with a .212 hitting percentage to NYU’s .168. Sophomore hitter Andrew Zhu said that, despite the loss, this won’t derail their expectations for the season.
“We just need to work on eliminating errors and putting in more effort on defense, but during the game teammates were still very supportive despite the fact that we were losing,” Zhu said.
The standout for the Violets was Klein, who continued his scorching start with 21 kills and five blocks. His 55 kills, at this point in the season, is the highest on the team. Senior Phil Bueno also had a strong game, with 10 kills, three blocks and two aces. Junior setter Patrick Merrick’s 38 assists led the team.
The loss is the team’s second straight, after losing another five-setter last Saturday at home against University of California, Santa Cruz. The Violets play their next game against Baruch College on Feb. 4. On Feb. 5-6 they will compete in the Morgan Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Email Tony Schwab at [email protected]