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  • Writer's pictureJack Bienvenue

Men's volleyball sweeps no. 6 Vassar

The men’s volleyball team stunned the Vassar Brewers on Friday night, handing them their first 3-0 loss of the season in a back-and-fourth 22-25, 20-25, 23-25 match. The win marks the Lasers' first over a ranked team this year, and it could not have come at a better time. Now 6-6, they are looking to spark a run with the second half of the season quickly approaching. 

The first set started neck-and-neck, as neither team found themselves able to build a sustainable lead early. With the score tied at five, the Lasers used two rejections from senior middle blocker Jan Baronowski and one from junior opposite Jordan Shinaut to build a set-high four-point lead. After calling an early timeout, the Brewers responded by tying the game 12-12 and continued to battle down the stretch. In the end, it was the Lasers staying poised during the set's final frames, scoring five of the set's last seven points and taking the crucial 1-0 match lead. 

The second set started almost identically to the first, as both teams continued exchanging blows throughout the entirety of the set's first half. As the set progressed, however, a combination of service errors by the Brewers and persistent hustle from the Lasers, helped the home team start pulling away to their largest lead of the match, 18-12. With Lasell on the verge of taking a commanding 2-0 lead, Vassar did not go away, improving its defense down the stretch to cut the Lasell lead to three. Ultimately, the Lasers outlasted the Brewers in a closely fought set, gaining a two-set advantage. 

The third and final set proved to be the closest of the match, featuring 13 ties, four lead changes, and no lead greater than three. From the set’s opening serve, the Lasers immediately set the tone by getting a hand on every kill attempt by their opponent. After playing with intensity on both the defensive and offensive end throughout the set, Jeff Vautrin found his team down 22-19, as the Brewers were playing their best ball of the match. 

The fifth-year Head Coach had one thing to say to his guys during the last timeout of the set - “No ball hits the floor.” Moments later, the Lasers refused to let their coach down. They ended the set on a 3-0 run, as Baronowski completed the sweep with a kill that sent the bench running onto the floor to celebrate the statement win. 

Graduate setter Jesus Garcia dished out a match-high 26 assists in the win, while junior outside hitter Theo Zaharewicz, along with Shinaut, led the way offensively with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Shinaut, who stepped up big down the stretch for the Lasers in his return to the Athletic Center after being sidelined with the flu, could not say enough positive things about his teammate's energy during the big matchup. 

“I really couldn’t do this without all these guys getting rowdy,” Shinaut said. “Ryan [Fuller] is making plays. Carter [Phillips] is showing the most passion on the team. Everyone is getting so hyped. I’ve got to turn up.” 

The men’s volleyball team will look to carry its intensity and energy into its next match, as the Lasers play Springfield College for the second time this season next Wednesday at 7 p.m., but this time at the Athletic Center. 


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