SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Southern Vermont College began its participation in the 2015 Springfield College Men's Volleyball Invitational Friday evening, falling 3-1 to State University of New York at New Paltz.
The Hawks, who entered the night ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III by the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, took the first set 25-23 before SVC came back to tie the match with a 25-17 second-set win. SUNY New Paltz won the third 25-21 and then put the night away with a strong 25-14 victory in the fourth frame.
Southern Vermont moves to 15-7 on the year while New Paltz improves to 23-3.
Mountaineer freshman Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, Calif.) tallied a match-best 14 kills, notching just three attack errors on 27 swings for a .407 hitting percentage; he also registered two block assists while tying the team-high of seven digs. Senior Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, Calif.) added seven kills and four digs while classmate and libero Tino Escovedo (Fresno, Calif.) tied Ramirez's seven digs. Senior setter Herson Canta (Lagunitas, Calif.) put up 25 assists, chipping in with two service aces, five kills and a block assist.
Southern Vermont is set to play a pair of tough matches tomorrow during the second day of the Invitational, first facing Ramapo College (12 p.m.) before taking on hosting Springfield (2 p.m.), a team ranked sixth in the country.
SVC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set before the Hawks grabbed the next four points for the edge. The Mountaineers then went on a 6-1 run to regain the upper hand (11-7), and a later Ramirez kill would put Southern Vermont up 17-12. A New Paltz service error gave SVC a 22-15 lead for a commanding lead, but the Hawks then stormed back with a 10-1 run to take the game 25-23.
Three straight points put Southern Vermont on top 5-2 in the second set, the last coming on a Walley kill. SUNY New Paltz would trim its deficit to one, but SVC never trailed through the rest of the frame. A kill from senior Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, N.Y.) gave the Mountaineers a 15-9 upper hand before Southern Vermont finished off the set with an 8-2 run. Senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) recorded two service aces during that stretch with Walley adding a third to put the game away.
The third set saw SVC take another early lead, but the Hawks were able to go in front 10-9 with a 4-1 spurt. The lead went back-and-forth with multiple ties highlighting the latter end of the box. Up 21-20, New Paltz benefitted from four Southern Vermont mishaps to grab the 25-21 win and the match advantage.
The Hawks slowly increased their lead through the front-end of the fourth before a 9-2 run put them ahead comfortably and force an SVC timeout. Following the stoppage, SVC grabbed three straight points to cut the deficit to four. The rest of the match was all New Paltz, however, as the Hawks opened things up with a 7-2 surge. Four straight kills put New Paltz up 23-11, and a final Southern Vermont service error ended the match with the 25-14 fourth-set victory.