DIII No. 4 Vassar Defeats No. 9 Ramapo, 3-2


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Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - With sole possession of first place in the NECVA Metro Division on the line, Vassar's men's volleyball withstood a strong offensive attack from the visiting Ramapo Roadrunners, winning a thrilling match 3-2 (30-25, 24-30, 30-28, 23-30, 15-11).

The No. 9 ranked Roadrunners in the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll, entered the match as the top attacking team in the nation, at .343, but No. 4 ranked Vassar picked up 13 team blocks en route to the victory.

With the win, the Brewers improve to 15-5 overall, and 7-0 in conference play. Ramapo picked up their third loss of the season, falling to 20-3 and 5-1. The Brewers will travel to SUNY New Paltz and New Jersey City University for divisional matches on Wednesday and Saturday.

After splitting the first four games with Ramapo, Vassar opened the tiebreaking fifth game with a 5-2 lead. Three kills from TC Elsasser (Barnegat, NJ/Southern Regional) helped pull the Roadrunners within a point at 7-6. The Brewers' Phil Tully (Huntington Station, NY/Walt Whitman) responded with an impressive showing of his own, picking up three kills in the span of five points to extend the Vassar lead to 12-9. The teams traded points to the match's conclusion, with Steve Micucci (Millis, MA/Millis) getting the final kill, for the 15-11 win.

In the opening game, the Brewers jumped put to a 10-4 lead behind strong team serving. With four team blocks, Vassar prevented the Roadrunners from putting together an offensive rally. Down 24-17, Ramapo finally got some momentum scoring six straight points behind the serving of Tom Kohler (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) to pull within one point. Tully stopped the run with a kill down the line. Micucci and Tom Pawlowksi (Havertown, PA/Haverford) led the Brewers to the win down the stretch with two kills each.

The two teams played to a 10-10 tie to start the second game. With Kurt Backlund (Old Bridge, NJ/St. Joseph) and Elsasser serving, Ramapo put together a 10-3 run that put them firmly in control of the game and in position to tie the match.

In the closest game of the afternoon, neither team ever held more than a three point lead in game three. With Vassar down 9-6, Scott Leserman (Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa) sparked a Brewer rally with three straight kills to put his team up 13-12. Vassar held the lead for the remainder of the game, but could not pull away from Ramapo. Brendan Whitford (Lyndhurst, NJ/ St. Peter's Prep) twice registered kills that brought his squad within a point, including a score that pulled the score to 28-27.

The Roadrunners got four long scoring runs to take a 15-8 lead in game four, a big enough advantage to set up the decisive fifth game. Elsasser and Whitford each recorded three kills to open the game. Ramapo's defense was also a key factor, with four blocks in the game.

Micucci led the Brewers with 20 kills and a .593 attack percentage. Leserman added 13 kills and a team-high 11 digs.

Elsasser was an two-way powerhouse for Ramaapo, getting 25 kills against 4 errors and 8 total blocks. Whitford contributed 23 kills.

Article courtesy of Vassar athletics.

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