Tully, Kessenich Lead No. 7 Vassar To Upset Over No. 5 Stevens

2/13/2008

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Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - Sometimes victory is as much about outlasting your opponents as it is about outplaying them. Ranked No. 7 in the AVCA/CSTV Poll, the Vassar men's volleyball team upset the visiting No. 5 Stevens Ducks in a grueling five game match, 30-23, 27-30, 30-27, 24-30, 18-16. Sophomore Phil Tully and junior John Kessenich each had a career best night for Vassar, but all the Brewers had a role in one of the greatest victories in school history.

The Brewers improve their record to 8-5, and remained undefeated in NECVA play at 3-0. The Ducks fall to 7-4 and 1-1. The victory also ended a 56-game winning streak for Stevens in Metro Division play, extending to March, 2003. Stevens' last loss in Metro Division play came against Ramapo in the 2003 season.

With the match tied at two games apiece, Vassar took early control of the deciding contest, scoring six of the game's first seven points. Senior Tom Pawlowski (Havertown, PA/ Haverford) had perhaps the game's top play during the run, racing far off the court to recover an errant dig with an acrobatic set. The Brewers would later score on the rally. The Ducks rallied back, coming with two points at 12-10, but two quick Vassar points put them on verge of victory.

Stevens once again came back, tying the score at 14, 15, and 16. Finally, on their third try at match point, the Brewers earned the hard-victory on a kill from Pawlowski and a Ducks' error. Kessenich (Chicago, IL/Richard Montgomery) tallied 11 of his career-best 82 assists in the deciding game.

Tully (Huntington Station, NY/Walt Whitman) led the way offensively for the Brewers with a career-best 32 kills. The sophomore was especially efficient in the opener, getting seven kills in nine attempts with no errors. Vassar took control of the first game early, never trailing after a tie at 4-4. The Brewers did not allow the Ducks consecutive points until late in the match, and picked up six blocks in a strong defensive effort.

Stevens came back with momentum-shifting victory in the second game. With the score tied at 18, a string of strong serves from junior Tomas Bochicchio (Saint James, NY/Smithtown) led to eight straight Ducks points, an advantage the Brewers could not overcome.

The third game was the most evenly-played of the night, with eleven separate ties. Stevens led as late as 24-23, but the Brewers got a pair of powerful kills from Tully to take a 2-1 lead.

Facing defeat in four games, the Ducks took advantage of a series of Vassar errors to take an early lead at 15-8. The Brewers closed the gap significantly, getting as close as 24-21 before two straight Stevens blocks shut down the Vassar attack and set up the deciding game. Sophomore Andrew Fessler (Farmington, NY/Victor) had a hand in both defensive plays.

Tully was one of four Brewers to record double-figures in kills. Steve Micucci (Millis, MA/Millis) picked up 22 with an impressive .541 attack percentage. Pawlowski and junior Scott Leserman (Manhattan Beach, CA) each had 14. Leserman added 3 aces.

The Ducks were led offensively by Bochicchio with 18 kills. Andrew Cranford (Bel Air, MD/John Caroll) hit .571 with 17 kills.

Article courtesy of Vassar athletics.

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