GAME VIDEO – The College of Staten Island men’s volleyball team lost a nail-biter tonight at the hands of the Panthers of Purchase College. The Dolphins would open the match with a win in the first set, only to see the match go five and fall. Staten Island continues to show improved as the season progresses and will hope to be a dominant force when the CUNYAC tournament comes around. The Dolphins fell to 1-4 overall with the loss while the Panthers improved to 4-2 on the year.
Purchase College 3, Staten Island 2 (25-18, 14-25, 25-21, 14-25, 10-15)
The Dolphins and Panthers squared off a season ago with the Panthers coming out on top, 3-1. In each of those sets the Dolphins were right on the heels of the Panthers but were unable to get over the hill and secure the match. This season the Dolphins once again competed with the Panthers before eventually running out of steam.
The Dolphins were electric in the opening set of tonight’s match, scoring 11 kills on 31 total attacks with just five errors. Mark Palencia secured five kills in the opening win, hitting .182. Danil Kukovitskiy showed up at the net and collected two solo blocks for the Dolphins. Staten Island used a 9-2 run to take a lead over the Panthers in the first stanza and the Panthers couldn’t seem to find an answer to the Dolphins’ attack. Holding a 13-6 lead the Dolphins made sure to keep the pressure on to not allow the Panthers back into the game. The Panthers would make a late push but the Dolphins were able to stop them in their tracks and secure the opening set to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
CSI struggled once they switched sides on the court as the Panthers had full momentum of the second set. As a collective, the Dolphins hit -.074 as a team in the second set which signaled the demise during this set. CSI was only able to secure five kills on 27 total attacks while the Panthers made the most of their chances, tallying 14 kills on 32 attacks with just three errors. The Dolphins trailed 4-6 in the early goings of the set however, a 6-0 run by the Panthers blew the set open and put the Dolphins in a hole that they were unable to dig themselves out of. Kevin Carges was able to pick apart the Dolphins when he was up to serve and collected a pair of service aces for the Panthers.
With the match tied at one, the Dolphins regrouped and returned to their opening set form and were able to bounce back from a loss and produce their best set of the night. The Dolphins would tally 13 kills on 38 total attacks with just five errors. Adil El Haddad was surgical in the third set, collecting 11 of his 30 assists in this set as he was able to fool the Panthers defenders which allowed his teammates to secure kills. In the early portion of the third set, it seemed as if the Dolphins were in full control, however, the Panthers had other intentions and were able to knot the set up at 14 after going on an 8-4 run. As the set continued on the Dolphins were able to keep the Panthers at bay and take a 2-1 lead in the set as Steven Caruso’s serves led to Palencia securing the final point for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins and Panthers squared off in the fourth set and it looked like a repeat of the second set where the Panthers were firing on all cylinders and the Dolphins couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. CSI secured just four kills on 19 total attacks and committed five errors in the fourth set. Andrew Schwab and Carges found their groove and picked apart the Dolphins’ defense.
Heading into the fifth and final set, the Panthers had the momentum but the Dolphins were not ready to throw the towel in just yet. Down 3-1 the Dolphins were able to fight back into the set and tie it up at three. From that point however, the Panthers would hit the half way point and flip the court on the Dolphins. Down 8-5 the Dolphins fought hard to make a run to try and take the lead and nearly did it when it was 11-9 in favor of the Panthers. But once again Carges showed up for the Panthers and crushed one into the floor. The final two points for the Panthers would be gained via errors on the Dolphins’ end.
Palencia would finish the game with 18 kills while Kukovitskiy would finish with six kills and three solo blocks. Leading the charge in digs was Ronald Tisbe with 17 while Caruso added a team-high two service aces.
The Dolphins will return to action this Saturday, February 25 where they will head to Sarah Lawrence College to participate in a tri-match against Sarah Lawrence and New Jersey City University at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.