Men's Volleyball: Lions start season with convincing wins

by Tommy McArdle / Beacon Correspondent • February 2, 2017

The men’s volleyball team is off to a hot start after defeating Pine Manor and Newbury College to begin the season.

The Lions soared to victory in both matches thanks to the strong play of sophomores Win Kittivatcharapong and Mark Piorkowski, who combined for 52 kills. Junior Nick Rusk has collected 70 assists in his new role as setter. Freshman John Bucy has begun his collegiate career by hitting .550 over 20 total attacks, proving consistent through his first two matches.

Emerson handles Pine Manor in opener

Emerson dominated Pine Manor Saturday afternoon in a three-set, season-opening sweep.

The Lions rarely struggled, winning each set by at least 14 points. Piorkowski and Kittivatcharapong led the offense with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Rusk provided 32 assists.

Freshman Diego Garcia played a strong match in his debut with the Lions, posting a .600 hitting percentage and seven kills.

“My first collegiate game was a rush in itself,” Garcia said. “Given the stakes of the game I don’t think it’s too much to say that was expected, what we saw on the court. We came into it thinking we should have a fun game, and we did.”

Garcia said he thinks the team’s resistance to adversity will be tested as the season continues.

Garcia and head coach Ben Read complimented Nick Rusk’s setting in his first match as the team’s setter.

“That’s what we’re looking for,” Read said of the junior co-captain. “For his first match this year, setting, he did well. We’ll be looking for him to do a few different things down the road, maybe run some plays, speed some things up, but I thought he did a good job distributing the ball and ran a good offense.”

Read said he was pleased with the team’s consistency in its passing game, though he noted there are tougher teams to come this season. Read highlighted the Lions’ match against MIT Saturday.

“MIT is a very good team,” Read said. “If we can go ahead and be competitive, maybe surprise them, it’d be awesome to see.”

MIT swept Emerson in straight sets in both 2016 meetings.

A strong effort against Newbury

The Lions defeated Newbury College in four sets on Tuesday night. Though the Nighthawks took the second set by a score of 25-20, Emerson largely maintained the dominating pace of play it enjoyed in the home opener against Pine Manor. The Lions limited Newbury to just 31 points in the three sets they won.

Rusk improved on his 32 assist performance in the home opener by adding 38 more in his second game at setter. Rusk provided five digs and chipped in with two block assists.

Diego Garcia’s seven kills impressed in his collegiate debut against Pine Manor, but in his second game, he was issued six hitting errors on 14 total attacks. However, Garcia picked up the slack defensively and led the Lions with nine digs against Newbury.

What’s Next

The men’s volleyball team faces Lesley and MIT in a doubleheader at home on Saturday. Like the Lions, Lesley has played in only two matches this season, though they have been swept in both. MIT has a 6-3 record in nonconference play, most recently beating fifth-ranked Wentworth in five sets on Tuesday.