DIII No. 8 Vassar Falls To No. 13 Endicott In Hard Fought Match

3/28/2009

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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - In a match between two of the best teams in the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA), the No. 8 Vassar men's volleyball team lost a hard-fought match to No. 13 Endicott College, 3-0 (29-31, 26-30, 31-33) in the regular season finale at Kenyon Hall.

The loss, which put a damper on Senior Day, drops the Brewers to 17-7 heading into the NECVA Tournament starting next Friday at MIT. Endicott improves to 20-11 and heads to the NECVA Tournament as well. Seedings will be announced on Monday morning.

The match was as close as the final tally indicates. While Vassar was defeated by a cumulative total of 10 points, the Brewers held set points in both the first and third sets. In the first set, Vassar held a 29-28 lead before an attack error after a long and furious rally put Endicott ahead 30-29. Block assists off a Vassar attack by sophomore Zeke Kubisch (Bethlehem, NY/Bethlehem) and freshman Brent Feldman (West Palm Beach, FL/West Boca Raton, enabled the Gulls squeeze out a 31-29 win. In the third set, Vassar once again held at 29-28 lead, but the set was tied three times from that point. Endicott was able to close out the match with its 32nd point coming off a kill from Kubisch and the victory point in the 33-31 win off block assists from Feldman and junior A.J. Witkofsky (Scotia, NY/Burnst Hills-Ballston Lakes).

While the Gulls held the upper hand in each of the three sets, they never had a larger lead than seven points, that coming at 17-10 in the second set. The first set had five ties and the third set had 18 ties. Vassar held only two leads in the opening set, the first coming off a kill from senior Brian Bacchi (Hicksville, NY/Hicksville) to make the score 25-24 and the second following an Endicott service error for the 29-28 lead. The third set, which was a competitive slugfest, had the Brewers battle back from a 7-2 deficit and take seven separate leads, none of which were able to stick.

Had Vassar taken the third set, the match had the makings of a classic. With momentum off wins in the first two sets, the Gulls started quickly in this set, with Feldman getting three of his team's first five points off powerful kills. Behind the play of junior Phil Tully (Huntington Station, NY/Huntington Station), who led all players with 20 kills, the Brewers took their first lead at 13-12. Nine times in that last set a Tully kill either tied the contest or gave the Brewers a single digit lead. Each time, however, Endicott had an answer, particularly Feldman, who had seven kills in the final set. Tully had 11 of his 20 kills in the third and hit .526. At 20-20, the set was tied 10 more times and the margin of victory for Endicott came down to a single kill and the block assists.

Endicott controlled the second set for the majority of play. The Brewers fell behind 17-10 after Witkofsky earned one of his 18 kills in the match. But Vassar fought back with senior Scott Leserman (Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa) leading the way with six of his nine kills coming in this set. Vassar drew within 27-26 after a block assist from Bacchi and Tully, but Endicott adeptly pulled away getting a big kill from Witkofsky and set-winning points off a block assist and a Vassar attack error.

The opening set had a similar tone to the second set. Endicott pushed out to a 17-11 lead after a kill from Feldman and then Vassar made a run. Down 21-20, the Brewers got four kills from sophomore Evan Fredericksen (Menlo Park, CA/Menlo Atherton) and were able to tie the match at 26-26. Endicott got two of its last five points off kills from junior John Emery (Westford, MA/Westford Academy) and capitalize on a Vassar serving and attack error and subsequent block assists for the victory.

The Brewers got 20 kills and 11 digs from Tully. Senior Steve Micucci (Millis, MA/Millis) had 12 kills and fellow senior John Kessenich (Chicago, IL/Richard Montgomery) had 47 assists. Leserman, the nation's leader in digs, had nine in addition to his nine kills.

For Endicott, three players had double figures in kills. Witkofsky had 18, Feldman notched 11 and Emery 10. The Gulls got a 22 dig performance from senior Dan Coleman (Millis, MA/Millis) and a match high 50 assists form junior Ben Foster (Penfield, NY/Penn).

Both teams had similar hitting percentages, Endicott at .258 and Vassar attacking at .248

Article courtesy of Vassar athletics.

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