CHICOPEE, Mass. — With only seven team attack errors on the night, Southern Vermont College took down Elms College 3-0 on the road Wednesday in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's volleyball action.
The Mountaineers improve to 15-6 on the season and 9-2 in Conference play while Elms drops to 4-20, 1-10 against the league. SVC took the match with game victories of 25-14, 25-17, and 25-22.
Southern Vermont freshman Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, Calif.) tied his season-high in a three-set match with a night-best 14 kills, tallying just one attack error on 19 attempts for a .684 hitting percentage. Senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) added 12 kills on 16 swings for a .688 percentage (one error), and classmate Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, Calif.) recorded eight kills and eight digs while adding a solo block and three service aces to his line. Senior captain Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, N.Y.) chipped in with seven kills, six digs and three service aces.
Senior captain and libero Tino Escovedo (Fresno, Calif.) popped up a team-best 10 digs while classmate Herson Canta (Lagunitas, Calif.) facilitated the SVC offense by assisting on 41 of the 45 Mountaineer kills. Southern Vermont hit .437 as a squad on the night, recording the team's second-best match percentage on the season. SVC edged Elms 33-32 in digs while putting up 10 service aces to the Blazers' one.
Four early kills gave way for SVC to go up 6-3 in the first set. The Mountaineers then tacked up four more kills, two from Fitzgerald, to go with three service aces during an 8-2 run for a comfortable cushion (16-8). Up 20-13 after a Walley kill, Southern Vermont scored three of the next four points with the last coming once again from the senior; he then ripped across a pair of service aces to put the set away at 25-14. The Mountaineers had no hitting errors on 19 swings in the game, landing 13 kills for a .684 team hitting percentage.
A combined 14 kills from the two sides saw a back-and-forth battle through the first half of frame two. The Blazers used a pair of kills for three unanswered points to go up 12-9, taking their biggest lead of the night. Southern Vermont utilized a timeout to calm the Elms momentum, and the break paid off as the Mountaineers went on a 4-1 spurt to tie things at 13-all. EC responded with two straight points, but that would be the last time the hosts would lead as SVC landed three unanswered kill to go up 16-15 and force an Elms timeout. The stoppage didn't slow down SVC, the visitors scoring the next five points to finish off an 8-0 run for a commanding lead. Southern Vermont closed out the set by tallying four of the last five, a final Walley kill giving his team the 25-17 victory.
A pair of Blazer kills saw the hosts go up 3-1 in the beginning of the third, but SVC notched the next three points en route to never trailing the rest of the night. Elms refused to go quietly, however, keeping pace with the Mountaineers through the middle of the set. Up just one, Southern Vermont used two Ramirez kills for a 6-2 run to take some breathing room. The Blazers were able to cut the deficit to three a few times down the stretch before going on a 4-1 run to make it a two-point frame (21-19). Ramirez registered another two kills during a 3-1 SVC stretch that set it to match point, and Fitzgerald put down one more for the win and season sweep of Elms.
Southern Vermont now looks ahead to its weekend at the Springfield College Invitational. The Mountaineers begin their stay with a 7 p.m. Friday match against SUNY New Paltz, a team ranked No. 3 in the country by the latest AVCA coaches poll.