BENNINGTON, Vt. – Men's volleyball action returned to the Mountaineer Athletic Center for the first time since March of 2015 Wednesday night, but Southern Vermont College fell in straight sets during its home opener, unfortunately, to visiting SUNY Polytechnic Institute in non-conference play.
The Wildcats took the night with game scores of 25-13, 25-13, and 25-21.
Southern Vermont (0-2) is now off until next weekend when the Mountaineers head to New York for the Elmira College Invitational; SVC will first take on the hosting Soaring Eagles on Friday, February 10 at 4 p.m. before playing Nazareth College at 6 p.m.
SVC junior Elmer Olivares (Miami, Fla.) led all players with a career-best nine kills, adding four digs and a block assist to his line. Classmate Yonas Million (Rockville, Md.) notched a match-best eight digs while freshman setter Bryan Bernal (Riverside, Calif.) had 10 assists and a pair of digs. Senior rookie Jeff James (Bowie, Md.) totaled three blocks defensively, and he also registered a kill and a service ace for Southern Vermont.
The Mountaineers started off on the right foot, going up 3-0 early in the opening set. SUNY IT surged back with a 9-3 run to go on top, and the Wildcats wouldn't trail the rest of the game. Olivares landed a kill to end a 4-0 Poly streak, but the visitors would then take to a 7-1 spurt to grab a 10-point upper hand. Olivares had another kill late in the frame, but it wouldn't be enough to slow the IT momentum as the Wildcats finished it off to take a 1-0 edge in the match.
Million put down a kill before Bernal served up an ace to make it a 3-2 Poly edge in the onset of the second, only to see the visitors take five of the next six to build their cushion. Olivares and freshman Chris Jimenez (Newark, N.J.) landed back-to-back kills to get the Mountaineers with two, but the Wildcats then went on an 11-2 run to push the difference into double digits. IT closed out the set with three of the final four points— bringing a commanding match advantage into the third.
James served for three-straight points to start the third stanza, and Southern Vermont was able to stay up by one as the teams went back-and-forth through the early part of the game. Poly cut it to a one-point deficit a few times, but kills by James and Olivares helped SVC push it back to a pair each time. After Olivares put down another kill before a Wildcat error made it a 13-10 lead for the Mountaineers midway through the set, IT would score five unanswered to go ahead 19-16. Poly notched four of five to force an SVC timeout— one which saw Olivares come out and slam a Bernal set to get it back to four. A pair of visitor miscues with the contest at match-point extended the night momentarily, but the Wildcats were able to cap the sweep with a final kill.
– #LetsGoSVC –