DIII No. 6 Stevens Goes the Distance to Fall to Division II Foe Mt. Olive in Five

3/20/2009

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HOBOKEN, N.J. - Senior middle hitter Andrew Cranford of the sixth ranked Stevens Institute of Technology men's volleyball team posted a .556 hitting percentage with 16 kills on 27 swings as the effort came up just short with the Ducks falling in five sets to Division II foe Mount Olive College on Friday evening in Hoboken, N.J. Stevens produced a .218 hitting percentage and committed 24 service errors in the match as it went down by the scores of 20-30, 30-27, 31-29, 32-34, 12-15. The Ducks fall to 17-6 on the year, while the Trojans improve to 11-5.

Stevens fell behind early in Set 1, however battled back to knot things up at 16-all. Following a service error by the Ducks, Mount Olive went on a 13-4 run to close out the game. Junior outside hitter Christiaan Rombaut (Halifax, Canada) led the way with eight kills and a service ace as senior outside hitter Pedro Penate (Miami, Fla.) landed four on five swings with no errors.

The Ducks rebounded in the second set and got in a groove early. However, the Trojans were close on their tails as each team battled back and forth for points. There were 14 ties and just over four lead changes. Having trailed slightly in the early going, Stevens took an 8-7 advantage off a kill from senior outside hitter Joe Trinsey. It was then tied back-up at 8 and 9. A kill from sophomore outside hitter SteFan PremDas gave the Ducks possession and a slight lead (10-9). But consecutive service aces by junior middle blocker Jose Lanier (Cienfuegos, Cuba) gave the advantage back in favor of the Trojans (13-12).

After a kill from Cranford to knot it up at 13-13, Mount Olive held a one-point lead over the next 10 points produced. Tied at 23-all, junior opposite hitter Noel Garcia (Habana, Cuba) drilled a kill as the Ducks committed an attacking error on their next offensive approach. Stevens came right back off a kill from seniors John Dennan and Doug Reger to deadlock the game at 25-25. Following two more score ties, Cranford closed out the game with a pair of kills to tie the match at 1-1.

Stevens carried its momentum into Set 3. The Ducks were able to jump out front and take a 16-11 advantage. However the Trojans responded with a 5-0 run to tie it at 16-all. Stevens then fell behind but was able to battle back to knot it at 19-all. It was then the Ducks all the way, until the game was tied for the fourth time at 28-28. An attacking error by Stevens allowed the Trojans to take their second lead of the game, but a service error by Mount Olive gave the ball back to the Ducks as they closed things out with a kill from Trinsey and an attacking error by Lanier. Trinsey led the team with six kills in the win to give Stevens a 2-1 advantage on the match.

With their backs against the wall, the Trojans had to muster enough of an offensive prowess to tie things back up and send it to a Game 5. After each team traded points in the early going, Mount Olive was able to take a commanding lead (13-7). However, the Ducks closed on that margin to tie things up at 20-all off a 15-9 run. From then on it was back and forth as the score was knotted seven more times before the Trojans came away with it. Stevens fell behind 25-23 but brought the set to a 26-26 deadlock. Each team traded points off kills and attacking errors before Penate landed a kill as Stevens gave the Trojans the set after a costly attacking error. Lanier led the squad with seven kills as it came down to the fifth deciding set.

It was as if the Ducks got tired in the fifth as they fell behind from the get-go and could not claw back. Stevens trailed 7-3 as the bench called a timeout. A kill from PremDas and an attacking miscue by Mount Olive gave the Ducks a glimmer of hope. Stevens was able to come within one five separate times down the stretch, however once the Trojans took an 14-11 lead, there was not much the Ducks could do. Penate closed out the match with a kill and brought his total to 17 on the night. In the final set, Garcia led the way with five kills and a pair of digs.

Trinsey totaled 18 kills in the loss on 45 attempts. He added a pair of aces and seven digs for Stevens. PremDas tallied 11 kills, an ace and lifted nine digs. Sophomore setter Brandt Grobeis dished out 53 assists, while senior libero Michael Bertucci finished with nine digs.

The Trojans were led by Rombaut and Lanier, who each landed 18 kills on the night. Lanier led the squad with a .483 hitting percentage and had a team high eight blocks. Penate (16) and Garcia (17) combined for 33 kills as the pair both lofted eight digs in the win. Junior setter Alex Hoekstra (Middletown, Ohio) had a match high 66 kills, while junior libero Felix Reimundo (Maimi, Fla.) led defensively with 15 digs.

Stevens will return to the court on Tuesday to play its make-up match against conference rival Yeshiva University at 8 p.m. in Hoboken, N.J.

Article courtesy of Stevens athletics.

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