READING, Pa.. – The Stevenson men's volleyball team secured the number-one overall seed in the upcoming inaugural Middle Atlantic Conference tournament with a 3-0 win over conference opponent Alvernia University on Wednesday night at the Physical Education Center.
Stevenson (17-8, 10-0 MAC), stayed undefeated in the MAC and won their fifth straight match by set scores of 25-16, 25-15, and 25-15.
Junior Jason Gardner led the way with a game-high eleven kills hitting .391 and five digs. Freshman Logan Smiley totaled double-digit kills as well adding ten, three digs, and a service ace. A match after picking up his 1,000th kill in the win over Wilkes on Saturday junior Landon Shorts finished with six kills, ten digs, five assisted blocks, and four service aces. Sophomore Kyle Bosko picked up four kills and three digs. Senior Alex Klunk chipped in with three kills, one block, one dig, and an ace. The setting duo of junior Jared Chin and freshman Aleks Melbardis combined to dish out 31 assists, with Chin leading the way with a match-high 18.
Alvernia (11-14, 5-5 MAC), was paced by Collin Welteroth with 7 kills hitting .143, five digs, and a block. Anthony Dadson had six kills and five assisted blocks. Ralph Lunati III and Logan McGinley both added four kills. Justin Gibbs handed out a team-high 14 assists.
The teams got out to an even start as they shared the opening six points to be tied 3-3. After a kill by freshman Nate Reynolds, the home side committed two straight errors by Lunati III to give the away side a 6-3 edge. Stevenson maintained the three-point margin out to 9-6 and then extended it with a 4-1 run aided by three Golden Wolves miscues and a kill from Smiley putting the Mustangs ahead 13-7. A pair of visitors mishits brought the deficit down to 13-9, but another Smiley kill coupled with two more home errors upped the lead to 16-9. Alvernia responded using a 4-1 push of their own making it 17-13. However, would be as close as they could get in the set as three different Mustangs (Smiley, Klunk, and Shorts) earned points down the stretch to cap off an 8-3 gallop to grab the first 25-16.
Set number two opened strong for the Mustangs with kills from Gardner, Klunk, and Bosko coupled with three aces from Shorts to nab an early 8-1 advantage. The Golden Wolves worked the lead down to five at 10-5 and closed the gap to two off a kill from Mike Monczewski and an ace by McGinley made it 10-8. Stevenson then started to take control of the second as kills from Gardner (3) and Shorts assisted by a few home errors wrapped up a 7-1 run to jump in front 17-9. Five of the following nine points went the way of Alvernia, but it did little to help out as the deficit only shrank by one to 21-14. Kills from Shorts (2) and Klunk allowed the guests to go on a 4-1 push to wrap up the frame 25-15.
The third saw Alvernia take an early lead 3-2 getting a kill from Welteroth and a pair of Mustangs miscues. Stevenson edged back in front with three kills by Smiley and a solo for Reynolds to snag an 8-5 advantage. The Golden Wolves trimmed the margin to one with a kill from McGinley and a ball-handling error by Reynolds to make it 8-7. A kill by Smiley sent him to the service line and the team rallied around him taking the next six points to go ahead 15-8. During that stretch, the Mustangs scored three times on combination blocks between Reynolds and Shorts. Welteroth stunted the Stevenson momentum for a brief moment before a kill from Shorts and an assisted block between Shorts, Melbardis, and Bosko catapulted the away side back in front 19-9. The Mustangs kept their foot on the gas with kills from Shorts and freshman Garrett Weigel extend the lead to 24-11. With Alvernia facing match point they looked to prolong the match using kills by Lunati III and Welteroth to bring the deficit under ten at 24-15. Stevenson ended the contest on the ensuing point on a kill from junior Billy Russo 25-15.
The Mustangs as a team hit .309 on 39 kills, while Alvernia hit .000 and totaled 24 kills. Stevenson continued to be strong on the service line picking up six aces to the Golden Wolves one.
The Mustangs will be back in action on Wednesday, April, 4 when they travel to Chester, Pa. for a Middle Atlantic Conference match at Alvernia University. First serve against the Pride is set for 7pm.