BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College men's volleyball team picked up its first win of the season Saturday afternoon—defeating Pine Manor College 3-0 before getting edged 3-2 in the backend of a non-conference doubleheader at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
SVC (1-8) continues its home stand on Monday with a 5:30 p.m. Presidents' Day match against Dean College.
MATCH 1: Southern Vermont 3 – Pine Manor 0
The Mountaineers used a big run in the opening set of the day to take it 25-16 before topping the Gators 25-20 and 26-24 through the next two for the sweep.
Southern Vermont junior captain Elmer Olivares (Miami, Fla.) notched a career-best 12 kills for a match-high, and he also had seven digs and a block assist. Senior Jeff James (Bowie, Md.) added five kills and a solo block while freshman captain Bryan Bernal (Riverside, Calif.) registered 22 assists and a team-leading nine digs; Bernal also fired across five service aces and had two kills in the win.
Neither side led by more than two points during the early portion of the first game. Olivares changed that when he landed a kill to put SVC up 13-10, and the Mountaineers then rallied for nine-straight points with junior Yonas Million (Rockville, Md.) behind the service line. Olivares recorded another kill to make it 24-14, and Southern Vermont sophomore Marv Figaro (New York City, N.Y.) then added one of his own three points later to put it away for the hosts.
Three-straight SVC miscues gave the Gators an early edge in the second, but the Mountaineers stayed in it as points went back-and-forth. After a service error put PMC up 11-9, a kill by Southern Vermont freshman libero Chris Jimenez (Newark, N.J.) sparked a 5-1 run which included a pair of Bernal aces. Pine Manor came back to tie it at 15-15 and would win four-of-five to reclaim the upper hand. The rest was all SVC, however, as the Mountaineers closed out the set with a 7-1 run—two of those points coming on Figaro service aces.
The Gators made a strong push to extend the match as they took the opening four points of the third before going on a 10-3 run for an eight-point lead. PMC then added another four straight to go in front 20-9 and have the fourth set in sight. Points were traded as Pine Manor inched closer to the set victory—using an SVC service error to stake a 22-12 advantage. The Mountaineers closed out the contest in thrilling fashion, however, as they stormed back to take the win.
SVC notched seven-straight points to get within three as Bernal ripped across another pair of service aces. After a Mountaineer hitting mishap, the hosts rallied for another five-straight points to go ahead 24-23; Olivares, Bernal and James each had a kill in that stretch. PMC was able to stay alive with the help of a Southern Vermont attacking error, but James got up to slam down a kill before he went back and served up a match-winning ace for SVC to close out its first victory of the year.
MATCH 2: Pine Manor 3 – Southern Vermont 2
The backend of the doubleheader saw the Mountaineers take the first set 25-18 as their momentum continued. PMC came back to tie the match with a 25-18 win of its own in the next frame before taking the edge in the contest with a 26-24 win in the third. SVC was able to force the decisive fifth set with a 25-22 win in the fourth, but the Gators made a solid comeback late in the final set to grab a 16-14 victory for the day's split.
Olivares tied a Gator for the match-high in kills with 15, and he also tied the team-high in digs with 17. Bernal added seven kills and another 17 digs while registering 30 assists and six aces. SVC freshman Te Hayward (Baltimore, Md.) chipped in with an additional seven kills and three digs as Jimenez totaled 10 digs and three assists. Million tallied nine digs, three kills and three aces while James finished with five kills, four digs and another solo block.
Southern Vermont won five of a six-point stretch to go in front 10-5 early in the first, but Pine Manor slowly trimmed its deficit to make it a 15-13 SVC edge midway through the stanza. The Mountaineers took four straight with the help of a Million kill—only to see the Gators take three-of-four to stay within three. PMC was its own worst enemy late in the frame as the visitors committed four hitting errors and a service miscue to give the Mountaineers the 1-0 advantage in the match.
After a Hayward service ace early in the second, Bernal ripped off three-straight aces to help his team go up 5-1. Pine Manor came surging back, however, with a 10-1 run for a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Four-straight points by the hosts made it a 16-14 PMC upper hand, but the Gators then won six of the next eight to force an SVC timeout. The stoppage wouldn't help the Mountaineers as Pine Manor closed it out with a pair of kills and an ace to even the contest at 1-1.
The onset of the third game was tight with Pine Manor taking a slim 10-8 lead on three-straight points. The Gators then went on a 7-2 run before another three-straight points put them ahead by eight. Southern Vermont wouldn't go away and took to an 8-3 spurt—getting itself within three late in the set. Bernal tallied a pair of aces before James landed a kill to tie it at 24-24, but two-consecutive SVC errors allowed PMC to grab a 2-1 edge in the match.
The two teams battled through the fourth with a Hayward kill tying it at 9-9. SVC would then tally four straight with a pair of Olivares kills, only to see the Gators come back and go up 19-17. Southern Vermont won four in-a-row before PMC answered with three straight of its own to take a 22-21 edge. Those would be the final Pine Manor points of the set as SVC ran off the next four to tie the match at 2-2—Olivares, Million and James each recording a kill during the stretch.
Neither side could take a strong upper hand in the final game of the day as they went back-and-forth throughout the fifth. Olivares landed two-straight kills to tie it at 5-5 before the Gators came back with the next two points. Southern Vermont rallied for six of the next seven to go up 11-8 as Bernal and Hayward put down back-to-back kills. After SVC went in front 13-9, PMC finished off the afternoon with a 7-1 run to come back and take the decider.
– #LetsGoSVC –