The College of Staten Island men’s volleyball team got their 2017 campaign underway tonight against Lasell College at the CSI Sports & Recreation Center. Lasell came into tonight’s game 6-0 and improved to 7-0 with a 3-0 sweep of the Dolphins which drops them to 0-1 on the year.
Match 1: #16 Lasell College 3, Staten Island 0 (11-25, 20-25, 13-25)
The Dolphins and Lasers met for the first time in their history as Lasell College is located in Massachusetts.  Lasell College holds the all-time record at 1-0 over the Dolphins and continues to roll as they picked up their seventh straight win tonight. The Dolphins showed improvement in each set as the match progressed with the Dolphins coming closest to a win in set two.
Staten Island came onto the court in their first real game action of the season and looked like they used the first set to shake off some rust as they struggled to find their groove against a nationally ranked opponent.  The Dolphins trailed just 3-1 early on after Mark Palencia was able to find and open pocket on the court and bury it off of a set from Steven Caruso. The Lasers would ramp up their attack and stretch their lead to 12-1 before the Dolphins were able to secure another point. Down 16-5 Staten Island looked like they found their stride as they went on a 3-0 run before being stopped in their tracks. The Lasers used their experience to close out the first set by a score of 25-11.
The second set of the night was the finest by the Dolphins all night.  The Dolphins trailed 8-4 early on, but were able to bust off a 7-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. Palencia took charge during that stretch and collected two kills.  Danil Kukovitskiy would get in on the action as well picking up a point for the Dolphins before they surrendered the ball back over to the Lasers.  Lasell seemed to get into a groove as Nathan Gallo was able to set up three of his teammates to take a 15-13 lead which forced the Dolphins to take a timeout to try and switch momentum back in their favor.  The Dolphins would battle and keep it close but the Lasers were able to use their size and slam the ball over the Dolphins’ block attempts to seal the second set and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In set three the Dolphins fell behind early and were never able to regain the ground they lost in the early portion of the set.  Lasell College was able to go on mini runs while the Dolphins could only tally a point before handing the ball back over to the Lasers.  Kukovitskiy did have a standout game at the net and was able to show why he was the team’s leading blocker last season as he solo blocked three attempts to give the Dolphins much needed points.  In the end, the Dolphins’ mini rally was too late to make a comeback as the Lasers would close out the match with a 25-13 victory in the final set of the night.
Palencia (.200) and Kukovitskiy (.100) led the offense for the Dolphins with 9 and four kills, respectively.  Caruso finished the match with 15 assists while Ronald Tisbe and Zebin Guo each had 10 digs. 
The Dolphins return to action on February 16 where the will host New Jersey City University at 7:00 PM.