Men’s volleyball splits double header, enters conference play 4-4

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Media: Tivara Tanudjaja

Freshman middle blocker Parker Gray recorded 21 kills over two matches on Saturday.

By Alberto Gilman

The men’s volleyball team entered a double header on Saturday with a 3-3 record, looking to break above .500 for the first time this season.

In the first match, the Lions faced the Nichols College Bisons, who beat them in their season opener on Jan. 23.

Nichols took the first set, and although the Lions fought back in the second and won the set 25-17, Nichols regained momentum and won sets three and four to cap off their second victory over the Lions this season.

Freshmen middle blocker Parker Gray led the team with a season-high 11 kills, junior middle blocker Sam Willinger recorded 9 kills, and senior setter Lucas Raagas finished the match with 25 assists.

“The best way to improve right now is to just go out there and play,” Willinger said in a postgame interview.

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Head coach Ben Read said despite the loss the Lions showed signs of improvement from their first matchup with Nichols.

“Totally different team today, very proud of how we stepped up and made a ton of changes,” Read said. “We’re serving spots better, we’re attacking better, we’re playing defense.”

The Lions quickly moved on to their first ever match against Northern Vermont University. The Lions controlled most of the match, winning the first two sets by a score of 25-14. The Badgers challenged the Lions in the third set and won 25-20, but Willinger scored 7 of his 15 kills in the fourth set to help the Lions secure the 3-1 victory.

In a post-game interview junior middle blocker Matt Connolly said the support from each other and the fans contributed to their win.

“We had a bunch of energy, I thought that was great cause it just makes it so much more fun,” Connolly said. “And we actually had a crowd today too, which definitely helps.”

The Lions hit the road for their first conference matchup against Johnson & Wales University Wildcats on Feb.17 at 7 p.m.