Trying to stay afloat through a challenging February, strong individual performances couldn’t save the NYU men’s volleyball team from their defeat in Hoboken by the defending Division III National Champions Stevens Institute of Technology in straight sets on Wednesday.
Stevens dominated from the beginning and rarely looked back, jumping ahead in the first set 3-0. The Violets quickly answered with two points of their own, but would not get any closer, as Stevens cruised to a 25-17 win. The Violets rallied in the second, overcoming an early 4-1 deficit with help from senior captain Nick Benson to keep the set close. The teams traded the lead three times before Stevens took a 22-20 lead. However, another Violets rally capped off by senior opposite Phil Bueno’s service ace gave the Violets a slim 23-22 advantage. Stevens quickly recovered, winning the next three points to win the set 25-23. Though the action in the third set began close, Stevens rapidly turned a 7-6 advantage into an unconquerable one, firing off six straight points to put NYU on the ropes for good. The deflated Violets were finished off in the third and most lopsided set of the night 16-25.
Stevens outplayed the Violets in nearly every statistical category. The Violets’ poor hitting percentage of .148 was more than doubled by Stevens’ .356. NYU also trailed in kills (41-33), digs (28-19) and assists (38-29). The Violets were hindered by numerous errors, including 20 attack errors and a combined 12 reception and service errors.
“We’ll get back to practice tomorrow and work on our offense,” Benson said. “It wasn’t clicking tonight.”
Bueno and Benson led the Violets’ erratic attack. The duo combined for 27.5 points and 22 kills. Bueno and Benson were also responsible for all five of the Violets’ service aces. They were helped by junior setter Derrick Chiu, who led the team with 28 assists. However, the strong individual performances weren’t enough to get by Stevens, who moved to 9-3 on the season with the win. The Violets, 11th in the latest UVCA top-15 rankings, are now the only ranked team under .500 (5-6). For senior leaders like Benson, a focus on dedication is key to future success
“Moving forward, how our season goes depends on how hard we work in practice and in games,” Benson said.
With pressure mounting, the Violets next stop is their home court in Brooklyn to play 10th-ranked Vassar College on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Email Michael Thompson at [email protected]