Men’s Volleyball Honors Seniors but Falls to Elmira
UTICA, NY – The SUNYIT men's volleyball team honored seniors Kevin Nelson (Oneida, NY/Oneida) and Jonathan Brochu (Latham, NY/Shaker) on Saturday before falling to the visiting Elmira College Soaring Eagles 3-0 at the Campus Center Gymnasium. The Wildcats ended their regular season 9-15 overall (2-6 UVC), while Elmira improved to 10-19 (2-6 UVC) on the year.
Nelson and Brochu, who are the program's first graduating class of four-year players, were honored prior to the start of the match for all of their contributions to the team during the past four seasons. Although Brochu was unable to compete due to injury, Nelson finished the day with a team-best attack percentage of .400, finishing with five kills on 10 attempts while adding five digs, a block and an assist.
Elmira recorded a .369 hitting percentage (45-14-84) and came up with nine blocks as a team on the day to pick up the victory. The Eagles jumped to an early 8-3 lead in game one, and after SUNYIT came within four at 18-14, Elmira would score four of the next points and go on to take game one 25-18. Game two and three both had similar outcomes, as each game would see both teams tied within the first 10 points, but Elmira would pull away each time and win both games by the scores of 25-17 to complete the sweep.
Eric Sandmann had 14 kills and eight digs for Elmira, while Ryan Gelenitis had 13 kills and Michael Vellutato registered 37 assists.
Nelson has had a strong four-year career for the Wildcats, as he will finish second in program history behind Brochu in both career games and matches played, while being fifth all-time in career kills, digs and aces, sixth in career points and eighth in total blocks. He has also excelled in the classroom, winning back-to-back SUNYIT Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards while also earning selections to both the NECVA All-Academic Team and ESPN the Magazine's All-Academic Second Team last year.
Brochu has also left his mark in the team's record books. He is currently first in program history in career games, matches, assists and total blocks, while being second all-time in career serve aces, fourth in career digs, seventh in career points and tenth in career kills. He has also set many assist records as the team's setter during the past four seasons, tallying 57 assists in a match last season and finishing the year with a career-and-program-best 810 assists, while reaching 2,000 career assists earlier this season and accumulating a career average of 7.21 assists per game.
The Wildcats will now compete in the first-ever United Volleyball Conference Championship Tournament next Saturday. Their opponent and the start time of the match have yet to be determined.