The men’s volleyball team fell from fifth to sixth place in the conference after losing to Emmanuel College in three sets on Thursday night.
Despite Emmanuel’s commanding victory, the Lions managed to record 10 more attacks than the Saints. However, the Saints scored on 28.4 percent of their attacks, while Emerson converted on only 9.5 percent.
Head coach Ben Read said the absence of sophomore middle blocker Matt Connolly forced them to experiment with new lineup combinations.
“We were missing one of our starters, so we tried a different lineup today and I think that got in our head a little bit,” Read said. “When we made mistakes, it was easy to go ahead and blame that we were trying a different lineup that we felt uncomfortable with. We actually felt it was a strong lineup. We put people in positions to be successful but it was just a matter of execution.”
The Lions fell behind in the first set as they trailed by ten points before a brief four point run that left the score at 21-14, with the Saints in the lead. Sophomore middle blocker Sam Willinger lead the Lions with four kills on 10 attacks in the set, but the Saints closed out the set for a 25-14 win.
Emerson held a brief one-point lead in the second set following two kills by senior outside hitter Mark Piorkowski, but Emmanuel dominated in the second half of the set en route to a 25-18 win.
Piorkowski led the teams with 14 kills. Piorkowski’s 4.5 kills per set rank first in the Greater Northeast Conference—over 1 kill per set higher than Colby-Sawyer College freshman outside hitter Orlando Plagata, who ranks second. Piorkowski also leads the GNAC with 0.87 service aces per set, but the Lions only recorded one against Emmanuel
In the third set, Emmanuel jumped out to a 4-0 lead that prompted Read to call a timeout. The Saints continued to outperform by holding a 16-6 advantage before Emerson scored four unanswered points to cut into the lead. Similar to the first two sets, Emmanuel gained back control and pulled ahead for a 25-15 victory.
In a post-game interview, head coach Ben Read said the team struggled to serve. The Saints recorded eight more service aces than the Lions.
“[We lost] the serve-pass game,” Read said. “They served tougher than us and passed better. We didn’t make the right decisions a couple of times as far as who we set and that was the difference in the game. Anytime you try something new, it’s easy to go ahead and play with nerves.”
The Lions will travel to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on March 19 for a non-conference matchup against the 12-6 Engineers.