ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — After a break of over a week, the Southern Vermont College men's volleyball team returned to action Tuesday night, going on the road to knock off Bard College 3-0 in non-conference play at the Stevenson Athletic Center.
The Mountaineers improve to 5-1 on the season while Bard falls to 2-9. Southern Vermont took the night in straight sets with wins of 25-16, 25-15, and 25-17.
SVC senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, California), who entered the match as the Division III leader in hitting percentage (.526), continued his hot start to the season with a night-high 12 kills; he only committed two hitting errors on 18 attempts for a .556 attack percentage on the evening.
Dighton was followed by fellow senior Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, California) who registered 10 kills and six digs while classmate and libero Tino Escovedo (Fresno, California) popped up a match-best 16 digs. Senior setter Herson Canta (Lagunitas, California) facilitated the offense with 31 assists, and freshman Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, California) added nine kills and nine digs in the victory.
Sophomore Alex Adams (Fire Island, New York) led the Raptors with eight kills to go with his nine digs while freshman Tyler Zowaski (Darien, Illinois) recorded a team-high 10 digs. Freshman Joseph Stier (Germantown, Maryland) assisted on 19 of the 21 Bard kills on the night.
The early going of the opening set was close until Southern Vermont tallied five straight kills during a 6-0 run to go ahead 14-6; Walley put down two scores in that stretch while sophomore Elmer Olivares (Miami, Florida) had one and an assist. Bard didn't help itself by recording four service aces through the latter end of the frame for SVC to maintain its advantage.
The teams swapped points before Walley landed his third kill of the set to take the match point by a 25-16 margin. Southern Vermont registered 14 kills and only two attacking errors on 29 swings in the opening-game victory for a match-best .414 hitting percentage in the frame.
Four straight errors by the Raptors gave way for a quick 4-1 Southern Vermont lead in the second set, but SVC mishaps kept the action tight as scoring went back-and-forth. Neither side tallied two straight points until the Mountaineers went on a 4-0 run, aided by two consecutive Dighton kills, to go on top 11-7.
Southern Vermont maintained its cushion until late in the period when the visitors went on a 5-2 run with kills by four Mountaineers for them to take a 21-13 lead. SVC scored four of the last five points of the set, including a final kill from senior Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, New York), to win the frame 25-15 and take a commanding upper hand in the match.
The third set saw the Mountaineers grab a few two-point leads, but Bard consistently responded to keep things close. With Southern Vermont ahead 12-11 midway through the game, BC took three straight points for its biggest lead of the frame (14-12).
That Raptor edge would not last long, however, as SVC then scored three unanswered of its own to regain the advantage. The Mountaineers used that momentum to subsequently land five straight kills, three coming from Dighton, for a 20-15 lead late in the frame. Southern Vermont closed out the night with a 5-2 run, taking the final set by a 25-17 tally for the team's third straight win.
Southern Vermont is back at it on Thursday as the Mountaineers visit The Sage Colleges for a 7 p.m. non-conference tilt. The Raptors are off until they go to Rochester, New York for a United Volleyball Conference tri-match on Saturday.