Lasers beat Rivier, advance to GNAC finals
Junior Jan Baranowski came out strong with the first point of set one for an excited Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Semifinals crowd against Rivier’s men's volleyball team. Baranowskini had 7 kills in the match overall, third most in the team. In second was first-year Jordan Shinaut at 11 kills, and in first, junior Brendan Joyce at 15 with a kill percentage of 0.424.
Set one went back and forth until Rivier pulled a lead 18-15 from a kill by Rivier senior Pedro Campos, who posed a solid threat to the Laser defense with a kill percentage of 0.556. It wasn’t until a major kill by Joyce that set the score back to balance at 23-23.
Lasell took set one 23-25.
Set two started off at a balance, but Rivier quickly broke a lead just before ten points in. Five kills in a row hit the floor on the Laser side. The score now at 9-5, Lasell got the ball back from a service error by Rivier sophomore Chris Lezon.
Attempting to pull the lead back, River ended up taking set two 25-22.
Tied in sets 1-1, taking the third set in a win-by-two 25-27 score changed the emotional tides in the gym once again. Lasell kept the lead the entire set, except for twice a tied score. Taking it back each time invigorated fans, and the whole gym was engaged.
Sets now 1-2 Lasell in the lead, needing best three out of five sets to win the semi-finals match. As usual the sets started off consistent between both teams, but Lasell broke through to take lead after the score tied 13-13; and Rivier was never able to fully recover.
Lasell junior Jesus Garcia was setting the entire match, with 43 total assists. The team ended overall with 17 blocks to Riviers 4, and an overall hitting percentage of 0.336. Better than the team's season average of 0.284.
On the last point, sealing the fate of Lasell’s victory, first-year Zak Burkett service aced Rivier graduate David Smith, who looked like he could do anything short of catching the ball. Served right to the chest, anyone watching knew it was over. Lasell won the match 1-3.
The men's volleyball team now moves onto their fourth finals since 2011, playing at number one seed Wentworth this Saturday at 7 p.m.