Chicopee, MA - The Elms College men's volleyball team played to matches on Saturday night at Picknelly Arena, splitting with Lesley University and Springfield College. The Blazers made quick work of the NECC opponent, sweeping Lesley with set scores of (25-1, 25-7, and 25-12). Elms then fell to Springfield College in straight sets with set scores of (19-25, 23-25, and 12-25). Springfield, was the top-ranked team in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll. The split puts the Blazers at (11-9) overall and (2-0) in league play.
Elms dominated the visiting Lynx from start to finish. The Blazers never trained in the match and held their opponent to a -.159 hitting percentage, while hitting .329. Ryan Perry (Holyoke, MA) led the way for Elms with 10 kills. Colin Liedke (Newington, CT) pitched in with 17 digs.
The second match of the day proved to be a much bigger test for the Blazers.
Springfield began the match with back-to-back aces to help the Pride surge out to a 5-1 advantage in the opening set. Elms would bounce back with a 10-5 burst to regain an 11-10 lead on an ace from Diego Hernandez (San Juan, P.R.), but Springfield would use a 5-1 burst to earn some breathing room at 20-16. The Blazers attempted to find their way back in to the opening set off a kill from Daniel Martinez (Bayamon, P.R.), the comeback fell short after three straight points from the visitors pushed them to a 1-0 lead.
There was no shortage of offense in the second set, as Springfield erupted for 22 kills at a .500 clip, while Elms kept pace notching 17 kills while hitting .447. In a set where there were 16 ties in the early going, Springfield benefitted from an ace and timely kills to open up a 19-16 edge. A massive kill from Jeremy Torres (Juncos, P.R.) got the home side to within one at (22-21). The Pride extended their lead to (23-21), but a kill from Hernandez brought the Blazers back to within one (23-22). That was as close as Elms would get, finding themselves in a 2-0 hole
Springfield carried that momentum in the third, as it held the Blazers to a -.024 hitting percentage while totaling 11 kills at a .407 clip. The Pride raced out to a 13-6 lead and was too much for the Blazers to overcome. The #1 Pride took the third set and the match 3-0.
Elms had six different players register a kill in the match. Carlos Mercado (Barranquitas, P.R.) led the way for the Blazers with 27 assists, six kills, and seven digs.
Elms is back on the court Friday 3/7, and Saturday 3/8 when they travel to Elmira College for the Purple & Gold Classic. The Blazers will take on the hosts on Friday at 2PM, Hunter College on Saturday at 2PM, then DII Daemen College at 4PM