Men’s Volleyball Drops Home Opener 3-1 to Colby-Sawyer

isaiah backels jumps up and swings to hit the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College men's volleyball team was topped 3-1 by Colby-Sawyer College for the second time this year—falling Thursday night in its home opener at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

CSC took the first set by a 25-20 margin before the Mountaineers bounced back to tie the match with a 25-22 win in the second. The Chargers regained the upper hand with a 25-19 victory in the third, and the visitors then needed extra points to end the night with a 27-25 tally in the fourth game.

The Mountaineers (1-3) now turn to their New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) opener at Elms College on Friday with first serve slated for 7 p.m. CSC (4-1) is back in action on Saturday with a tri-match at Dean College—the Chargers first taking on the hosting Bulldogs at 11 a.m. before squaring off with Regis College for a 1 p.m. non-conference contest.

Southern Vermont senior Isaiah Backels (Weare, N.H.) posted a triple-double with team-highs of 19 digs, 18 assists, and 12 kills. Junior Hans Resignac (Philadelphia, Pa.) followed with a career-best nine kills while freshman Fernando Perez (Azusa, Calif.) and junior Davante Smith (Ellenville, N.Y.) chipped in with 16 and 10 digs, respectively.

Colby-Sawyer freshman Orlando Plagata (Los Angeles, Calif.) chalked up a match-high 17 kills in addition to 18 digs and five service aces. Classmate Eric Miller (La Grange, Ill.) was right behind with 16 kills and 11 digs as fellow freshman Marc Flaherty (North Reading, Mass.) had another 18 digs for the Chargers.

The opening set was well contested with neither side leading by more than four until the final point of the frame. With the score tied 10-10, the Chargers went on a 6-2 spurt for an advantage they would never relinquish. Miller had five kills in the game while Plagata added four of his own.

The Mountaineers jumped out to a 7-4 edge in the second stanza, but CSC came back to tie it up and eventually go on top 18-17. SVC won the next four points, however, to force a Colby-Sawyer timeout. After an attacking error cut Southern Vermont's lead to 23-22, the hosts benefited from a service error before Backels put down his third kill of the set to end it.

The Chargers came out strongly to start the third with eight-straight points helping give them an 11-3 upper hand; Plagata had four aces and two kills in that stretch. Down 18-7, SVC rallied for five unanswered points, and the Mountaineers slowly crept closer down the stretch. CSC closed out the game, however, as Plagata registered one final kill in the frame to put his team up 2-1.

Neither side could stay in front during the fourth as service went back-and-forth. With the score knotted at 18-18, Colby-Sawyer won four in-a-row for a little breathing room. After the Chargers pushed it to match point, however, they gave one away before Perez finished a scramble play with a spectacular effort. Still, the visitors persisted and sent the game back to match point twice—the latter seeing Plagata finish the evening with one final swing.