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  • Writer's pictureELLIOT POTOTSKY

Lasers advance to GNAC championship

The GNAC’s #2 ranked men’s volleyball team took care of business against the #3 Rivier University Raiders in a thrilling Thursday night matchup.

The semi-final game featured four sets, all with high intensity and true grit from every single player on the floor.

The team coming together after hyping each other up right before first serve. Photo Credit to Karissa Gaughan.

During the first set, the Raiders led the Lasers 13-10. Coming out of a timeout, however, Head Coach Jeff Vautrin’s squad made two high-energy plays, one that ended with the Lasers winning an exhausting rally and one that featured a big-time block by senior Jesus Garcia.

After two straight points by the home crowd favorite, the Raiders were forced to call a timeout of their own. To make matters worse, the Raiders committed two service errors that gave the Lasers a 25-22 set victory.

Sophomore Dexter Thomas going up for an attack against Rivier blockers. Photo Credit to Karissa Gaughan.

Unlike the first set, it was the Lasers who started to dominate the second set. After going up by five, the Raiders needed a timeout to try and stop the bleeding. Unfortunately for boys in navy blue, the Lasers kept their foot on the gas and went on a 9-4 run. Within that span of play, sophomore Dexter Thomas had an empathic block, while senior Brendan Joyce hit the set-winning kill.

Sophomore Jordan Shinaut took over the game late, as he earned 18 total kills with over half of those coming in the third and fourth sets. Similarly, Joyce showcased his talents in the fourth set after the Lasers fell in a hard-fought 26-24 battle in the third.

With both teams locked in at 13 points, the Lasers went on an 8-2 run that featured a Jordan Shinaut ace and a massive Brendan Joyce block that sent the Athletic Center into a frenzy. With the entire crowd on their feet, Joyce iced the game with his second set-winning spike -- his 16th total kill.

“We just got to play our game,” said Shinaut in an interview after the game.

Sophomore Dexter Thomas and senior Breden Joyce go up for a block against Rivier first-year Kythan Ses. Photo Credit to Karissa Gaughan.

Similarly, Joyce, who will be returning to the Lasers for a fifth year, said after the game that the team is going to need to be ready for what Wentworth brings to the table.

“It’s going to take everything we got,” Joyce said.

The Lasers will play #1 Wentworth on Saturday, April 15th at 2 p.m. in what will be a GNAC Championship rematch from last season. After losing earlier in the season to the Leopards at home, the Lasers earned a statement win at Wentworth 3-2 less than a week ago.

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