OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Stevenson men's volleyball returned to action on Wednesday night after a busy weekend that saw them beat Division I Harvard University by defeating Middle Atlantic Conference opponent Alvernia by a 3-0 score at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
Stevenson (6-5, 3-0 MAC), eclipsed the .500 mark for the first time since the opening weekend of the season winning by set scores of 25-19, 25-12, and 25-13.
Junior Landon Shorts led the way for the Mustangs totaling nine kills on a .500 attack percentage, three service aces, and ten digs. Classmate Jason Gardner added eight kills hitting .312 and an ace. Senior Alex Klunk chipped in six kills and two blocks. In the two sets that he saw action in freshman Nate Reynolds picked up three kills and led the team in blocks posting three block assists and a solo block. Sophomore libero Derek Tangorra had a game-high 12 digs, while freshman Aleks Melbardis dished out a team-high 16 assists.
Alvernia (5-6, 1-2 MAC) was paced by six kills and two block assists from Spencer Matthews. The Golden Wolves got five kills and eight digs by Collin Welteroth. Justin Gibbs posted a game-high 17 assists and tied with Welteroth for the team lead in digs with eight.
Alvernia came out of the gate strong getting out to an early 6-1 lead, with a kill from Gardner being the only mark by the home side. Kills by Shorts and freshman Logan Smiley pulled Stevenson back to 6-3, but two more from Alvernia on a kill from Welteroth and a ball-handling error made it 8-3. An attack error by the Golden Wolves Logan McGinley put freshman Garrett Weigel on the service line and with the help of four straight errors by the visitors the match was level at 8-8. With the Mustangs holding a slim 10-9 edge Alvernia rallied to take five of the next seven points to go in front 14-12. Two straight aces by Shorts put the hosts back on top 15-14, but a service error once again knotted the score at 15-15. An error on the serve from Jon Demeter handed Stevenson an 18-16 advantage. A bad set from Smiley pulled the margin back to one at 19-18, but the guests were never able to get over the hump as the Mustangs grabbed kills from Klunk, Shorts, Gardner, and Weigel to see out set one 25-19.
The opening of the second set went the exact opposite way of the first as Stevenson got a block assist from Shorts and Klunk to take a 1-0 edge. That sparked the Mustangs as they embarked on an 8-1 run aided by kills from Gardner, Shorts, and Smiley to push the lead out to 9-1 which led to an Alvernia timeout. Coming out of the break Welteroth picked up a kill to cut it to 9-2, but the home side added the next three, and soon the lead was up to ten 12-2. The teams then exchanged points for quite awhile with the Golden Wolves cutting the deficit as low as nine (14-5). However, an attack error from Josh Stewart handed Stevenson their largest lead of the frame to that point at 20-8. Kills from Shorts and Klunk helped to cap off a 5-4 spurt to end the set 25-12.
Both sides shared the first six points of the third, and the score was deadlocked 3-3. Then the Mustangs found their groove with a kill from junior Jared Chin sparking a 6-0 streak by the home side to go ahead 9-3. After a kill from Logan McGinley and an ace by Ralph Lunati III cut the score to 9-5. Stevenson responded with a 5-1 run of their own helped out by a pair of block assists from the teams of Chin and Reynolds, and Chin and Klunk which extended the advantage to 14-6. A kill by Lunati III pulled the Golden Wolves to within six 18-12, but that would be the closest they could get the rest of the way as the Mustangs ended the frame on a 7-1 push to take the set and the match 25-13.
The Mustangs as a team hit .262 on 32 kills, while Alvernia hit a negative .042 and totaled 21 kills. At the service line, Stevenson held a slim edge with five aces to the Golden Wolves two. The Mustangs also handed out 30 assists to the visitors 19.
The Mustangs will host a tri-match on Saturday, February, 17 when they will square with conference foe Widener and non-conference Hunter at Owings Mills Gym. First serve against the Pride is set for 2pm, with the match against the Hawks scheduled for 6pm.