BOSTON, Mass. (4/15/17) – The No. 11 Lasers of Lasell College fell to the No. 5 Leopards of Wentworth Institute of Technology in five sets in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship match on Saturday afternoon at Tansey Gymnasium.
Lasell closes the regular season at a 29-6 mark, the best record the program has seen since its inception, and await a possible at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. Wentworth receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III men's volleyball tournament at 27-6, tying both the program record for wins in a season and consecutive wins streak (10). The NCAA will announce the tournament field on Monday at 10:00 a.m.
Senior Jeffrey Vautrin (Chicopee, Mass.) finished with 17 kills, three aces, and nine digs, while classmate Patrick MacDonald (Floral Park, N.Y.) had 10 kills, nine digs, and two blocks. Both were named to the All-Tournament team.
Sanoa Afoa (Las Vegas, Nev.) had nine kills and two blocks, Tristan Davis (Rochester, N.Y.) had eight kills and two aces, and freshman Janci Soto (Lawrence, Mass.) had seven kills and four blocks. Setter Andy Henriquez (Lawrence, Mass.) had 42 assists and four blocks while sophomore Jordan Aprea (Newington, Conn.) had 14 digs as Lasell's libero.
Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) had 20 kills, hit .364, served five aces, and had five digs to earn Most Valuable Player for the Leopards.
Wentworth jumped out to a 9-6 lead in the opening set after a kill from junior Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.). Lasell scored the next two points before a blocking error gave the hosts a 10-8 lead. The Leopards extended their lead to 15-11 using a pair of senior Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) aces during the spurt, before the Lasers scored the next three points, including a kill from Vautrin, who would also serve an ace to make it 15-14. Wentworth scored the next three points, capped off by a block from senior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) and junior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.), however, Lasell went on a 6-1 run and took a 21-19 lead on a kill from MacDonald. Trailing 24-23, Mullen served an ace to keep the set alive but Lasell took a 28-26 win after back-to-back errors for the Leopards. Vautrin had six kills in the opening set for the Lasers while Reed had four for Wentworth.
The second set opened with Wentworth scoring the first four points and extended its lead to 6-1 on a service ace from Reed. The Leopards lead swelled to 9-2 after a ball handling error. Wentworth continued to maintain a seven-point cushion before taking a 20-10 lead after junior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.) and Mullen teamed up for a block. An Oshman kill made it 23-13 however Lasell scored the next five points, capped off by a kill from freshman Janci Soto (Lawrence, Mass.). A service error and an ace from Reed closed out the set, 25-18 and evened the match at a set apiece. Ritter had three kills on three swings while Mullen had three kills and two blocks in the set for Wentworth and Soto was a perfect 4-0-4 for Lasell.
Roat opened the third set with back-to-back kills and Wentworth extended its lead to 5-2 on a kill from Reed. Down 12-7, The Lasers scored four of the next five points to make it 16-11 after a setting error, and cut the deficit to 18-14 thanks to Vautrin, Davis, and Afoa, forcing Wentworth into a time out. Out of the break, an attack error made it 18-15, before A kill from Reed and an attack error would bump the score to 23-20 and Reed's 13th kill of the match – giving him 1,253 career kills – made it 25-21. Reed finished the set with eight kills on 15 swings without making an error. Vautrin had six kills in the set for Lasell.
Lasell opened the fourth set by scoring four of the first five points. Back-to-back errors made it 6-2 in favor of the Lasers, however Wentworth stormed back with three straight points and came within one at 6-5 on a Mullen kill. The Lasers countered with four straight points, capped off by a block from Afoa and Henriquez for force the Leopards to call timeout at 10-5. Lasell scored the next two points to extend its run to 6-0, and upped their lead to 15-6 after a pair of Wentworth errors and built a 10-point lead after a Vautrin kill. Wentworth brought the lead down to single digits twice, however Lasell scored six of the final seven points and forced a deciding set with a 25-11 win on an Afoa kill. Vautrin had four kills in the set for Lasell while Roat and Mullen had three apiece for the Leopards.
The deciding set saw the teams trade the first eight points before Lasell took a 5-4 lead on a kill from Davis. Wentworth answered with three straight points with Reed recording a kill and Mullen serving back-to-back aces. Henriquez and Afoa ended the run after combing for a block and Oshman slammed a kill home to make it 8-6 at the changeover. The teams traded errors before a Reed kill made it 10-7, before a MacDonald kill closed the gap to 10-8. Road served three straight aces in the closing plays of the championship match, before a Potts kill gave the Leopards in second GNAC title.
In addition to Reed's 20 kills, Roat finished with 13 kills, served three aces, and had 10 digs and Mullen had 11 kills, five aces, 12 digs, and three blocks. Oshman finished with six kills and did not make an error on 12 swings while also recording three blocks. Potts had five kills and four blocks, Ritter had 47 assists, eight digs, and three blocks, and senior Mike Rogachefsky (Rochester, N.Y.) had 16 digs. Reed now has 1,260 career kills, surpassing Ross Burdett's 1,252, set from 2011-2014.
Joining Reed, MacDonald, and Davis on the all-tournament team were Mullen and Ritter from WIT, Tyler Blank from Rivier and Kyle MacKnight from JWU.
Content Courtesy of WIT Sports Information