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Men’s Volleyball Falls to Elmira Twice in Season Finale

Mitch Mason vs. Elmira on April 3, 2021. (Courtesy of Dean Bogart)
Mitch Mason vs. Elmira on April 3, 2021. (Courtesy of Dean Bogart)

Closing out its 2021 campaign with two home matches on Senior Day, the D'Youville men's volleyball team was unable to get in the win column against Elmira Saturday afternoon at the College Center Gymnasium. The Saints dropped the opener, 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 12-25, 18-25), before losing in four sets again in the second match (21-25, 15-25, 25-21, 22-25).

The Soaring Eagles improved to 2-15 overall, while the host Saints finished this season with a 3-5 record.

MATCH ONE RECAP

Welcoming fans inside the College Center Gym for the first time all season, the Saints struck first with a kill from sophomore Dan Busha. The two squads traded points early on until D'Youville rattled off six-straight points to grab a 11-6 lead, in large part due to a pair of aces from freshman Matthew Terry. The guests responded quickly, going on a 10-2 surge. The Elmira run would prove to be the difference, as the Saints brought the score within two on multiple occasions but were unable to retake the lead, as the Soaring Eagles claimed the day's opening set.

The second set saw D'Youville once again take the lead early, starting a frame that would see five lead changes before the Saints' fourth 3-0 run of the set gave them a 24-22 edge. After a timeout, Elmira earned two points to even the score, but an attack error set up Busha to finish off the set with an ace.

Busha opened the third frame with another kill, but Elmira eventually ripped off a 5-0 stretch that gave the visitors a 9-4 advantage. The Eagles cruised to the third-set victory after that, not allowing the Saints to put together two-consecutive points the rest of the frame.

Another Busha service ace got the fourth set going, as Elmira continued to stop any sort of D'Youville run until back-to-back kills from Busha and junior Joshua Hoy cut the Elmira lead to 15-11. The visiting team did not let the short run phase them, as Elmira took the set, 25-18, and the match, 3-1, to earn their first win of the year.

Using a .337 hitting percentage, Elmira had a pair of players with double-digit kills, as Eric Jackson tallied a match-high 13 kills and Oscar Munoz Trinidad finished with 11 kills at a .533 clip. Munoz Trinidad and Jordan Peiser also tallied three aces apiece, while Peiser registered a match-best 11 digs. Busha paced the Saints with nine kills in the contest, followed by eight kills from freshman Joshua Roy. Busha's three aces were bested only by Terry, who racked up four aces in the opener.

MATCH TWO RECAP

The second match of the day began much like the first, as D'Youville opened with a Roy kill en route to taking a 6-2 advantage. Elmira would not stay behind for long, using an 8-3 run to hold its first lead of the match at 10-9. The Saints and Eagles would exchange the lead a few times before a D'Youville service error broke a 16-16 tie, with Elmira holding onto that narrow lead through the end of the set.

Elmira jumped out to a 9-2 edge in the second frame, but the Saints cut that lead to 9-6 thanks to a service error and two-straight aces from Roy. The Soaring Eagles kept up their pace after that D'Youville run, not letting the Saints come within three points for the remainder of the set and rolling to a 25-15 win.

After three-straight points from Elmira to open the third, the Saints managed a 4-0 run that gave them the lead. Elmira limited the run and later went on its own 4-0 stretch to retake a 11-9 edge, but the hosts won five of the next seven points, as D'Youville used the surge to give itself momentum for a 25-21 set win that staved off the sweep.

A kill from Munoz Trinidad opened the final set, but a 4-0 run by D'Youville countered Elmira's good start to give the Saints a 4-3 lead. The two teams would stay within two points of each other until the final rally of the match, when Elmira finished a 6-1 run to close out the set, 25-22.

Munoz Trinidad posted a match-high 16 kills for the Soaring Eagles, with Peiser racking up 11 kills in a supporting effort. For the Saints, Roy wrapped up the contest with 10 kills in addition to his two service aces, while Busha and senior Ali Khadra both knocked down eight kills. Junior setter Anthony Dean recorded all 30 assists for D'Youville in the finale, also posting a team-high eight digs. Senior libero Mitch Mason ended the match right below Dean with seven digs himself.

Notables – The Saints honored Mason and Khadra prior to the first match, as the doubleheader marked the final contests for the two seniors in D'Youville uniforms ... Despite ending the season on a losing note, the Saints improved upon their win total from a season ago in 10 fewer matches played ... Roy led the Saints in kills six times this season with Saturday's nightcap included ... The other two matches saw Busha pace the team offensively.