NEWTON, Mass. – In their home opener of the 2016 season, the Mount Ida College men's volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (15-25, 26-28, 25-22, 28-30) decision to the Blazers of Elms College on Thursday evening at the Mount Ida Athletic Center.
Peter Griffenkranz (Deer Park, N.Y.) led the way for the Mustangs with 17 kills, five digs and a tremendous .406 hitting percentage while James Ames (West Hartford, Conn.) tallied 8 kills on 36 total attempts to go along with 12 digs. Nate Gyampo (Providence, R.I.) and TJ Nicholas (Shelton, Conn.) each recorded seven kills while Gyampo notched two digs. Jimmy Wessel (DeKalb, Ill.) and Michael McCullough (Southborough, Mass.) combined for 43 assists while McCullough also tallied six digs along with teammate Dennis Miranda (Havana, Cuba).
Both teams went back and forth in each set throughout the night with some entertaining volleys in which both sides went on several point streaks only to let the other team creep back into the thick of things.
Elms were led by three different players who had double digit kills as well as 28 assists from John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.). Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Angel Castro (Carolina, Puerto Rico) tallied 14, 11, and 10 kills respectively.
Dunphy and Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) each recorded seven digs apiece while Bondarovsky and Castro tallied kills; DeCosmo also added seven digs. Reis Levy had a team high 10 digs for the visiting Blazers.
The Blazers took the first set by double digits, 25-15, but it was the Mustangs that kept things close until they got back to within three points at 15-12 after a Griffenkranz kill. Elms took the next four points of the set to extend their lead to 19-12. Mount Ida was only able to muster two more points in the opening frame before the visitors took the last five points and the 1-0 lead.
Between both non-conference foes, set two was a back and forth battle that saw several different lead changes and ties throughout. Elms' biggest lead of the second set was as big as six at 19-13 on a Castro kill, but it was the Mustangs once again who came storming back to score three out of the next five points to bring the Mustangs back within striking distance off a Reis Levy attack error, 20-18.
Elms went back up by as much as four points in the set at 22-18 before Mount Ida roared back and tied things up at 22 apiece. Each team once again battled with one another in the waning moments of the set before Elms finally stole the game by a slim margin, 28-26.
In the third set, Mount Ida was looking to avoid the sweep, and finally broke through with a 25-22 win. The Mustangs opened things up to start by taking the 3-0 lead early on and eventually going up by as many as six at 18-12. Elms crawled right back into it after a Reis Levy kill that brought the Blazers back within one at 23-22. After another kill and service ace by Griffenkranz, Mount Ida found what they needed as they headed to the fourth set, down two sets to one.
The fourth set of the night, another thriller, saw Mount Ida looking for another win to send both teams to a fifth and final set; however Elms had different plans.
Mount Ida took the early 2-0 cushion, but Elms came back and tallied the next four points to go back on top 4-2. The Blazers would go up by as many as five points at 19-14 but Mount Ida stood their ground and eventually came all the way back to tie things up at 26-26 on a Castro attacking error.
Each side traded the next four points before Elms scored the last two and the deciding set to take home the non-conference tilt by a final of 30-28.
Mount Ida is back in action this coming Saturday when they host a tri-match against Newbury College and Vassar beginning at 11:00 AM. Elms return to the hardwood next Tuesday when they travel to Newbury for a 7:00 PM start.