NASHUA, N.H. – Senior Grant Andler (Chicago, Ill.) and junior Dashaun Graham (Highland Falls, N.Y.) combined for 23 kills and 10 blocks Thursday evening as Rivier College defeated Lasell College, 3-1, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's volleyball match at Muldoon Gymnasium.
Rivier won a tightly-contested first set, 25-23, before cruising to a 25-13 triumph in set number two. The Lasers wouldn't go home empty-handed, taking the third set, 25-23, but the Raiders proved to be too strong, taking the fourth set 25-11 to close out the match.
Andler smashed 13 kills with a .346 attack percentage while Graham also reached double figures with 10 kills along with six blocks. Sophomore David Smith (Clinton, Ohio) added nine winners and junior Khaynen Yocca (Pittsburgh, Pa.) chipped in with eight as Rivier improved to 12-6 overall and 4-0 in GNAC matches. The Raiders are in the "received votes" category in this week's Division III national poll.
Junior Nathan Gallo (North Providence, R.I.) led the effort for the Lasers, posting eight kills with a .353 attack percentage. Sophomore Scott Sterenberg (Oceanside, N.Y.) added seven winners and freshman Aaron Waitekus (Norwood, Mass.) chipped in with six kills and four blocks. Lasell drops to 2-12 overall and 1-2 in GNAC play.
After the teams traded points early on in the first set, Rivier went on a 9-2 run to open up a 17-9 lead. Lasell battled back, and came all the way from behind to tie the score at 23-all, but the Raiders answered with two straight points, including a kill by Smith, to take the opening set.
Rivier won nine of the first 10 points of the second set, putting the Lasers in an early hole. The Raiders enjoyed a comfortable lead throughout the set and closed it out with four consecutive points to take a two-set advantage.
The teams battled back and forth in the third set, with six ties by the time the score reached 8-8. It was tied again at 16 and 18 before Lasell took the lead for good at 19-18. The Lasers pulled ahead 24-20, only to see Rivier score three points in a row, but a service error helped Lasell capture the 25-23 set victory.
The fourth set belonged to Rivier as the Raiders jumped out to leads of 10-4 and 14-5. Lasell never recovered and the home team went on to take the set, 25-11, to close out the match.
Lasell returns home to host the home opener this Saturday, March 3, with a tri-match at the Athletic Center; the Lasers will meet MIT at noon and Eastern Mennonite University at 4:00 p.m. Rivier will remain idle until a tri-match on March 17 at Regis College with Pine Manor College.
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