ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — The New Jersey City University men’s volleyball team, which returned to action for the first time since last year’s historic season when the Gothic Knights claimed their first-ever Skyline Conference championship and a berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament, competed in a this afternoon’s non-conference tri-match, Sunday, January 23. NJCU first faced Russell Sage College in neutral, defeating the Gators in straight sets, then also defeating host Bard College in three.
Match #1: NJCU 3, Sage 0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-11)
Jersey City (2-0) got the season off to a fast start with a statement win over the Gators (0-2). After dropping the first point of the first set of the year, NJCU took the next five points – including three straight aces for juniors Hanel Collado (North Mountains, NJ / Northern Mountains) — take a 5-1 lead. Then, leading 6-3, JC went on a 9-1 run to take a 15-4 lead before making it 25-13. In set number two, tied 2-2, junior Brandon DaSilva (Kearny, NJ/Kearny) scored three straight aces to make it 6-2 before four more Gothic Knight runs made it 10-3. Later in the set, leading 18-10, NJCU scored five goals in a row – including two kills from junior James Bajor (Bayonne, NJ/Bayonne) — to make it 23-10 before going up 2-0 with the 25-11 win. In the final game of the game, Jersey City flew straight to an 8-0 lead, including three senior aces Leo Ferrari (Kearny, NJ/Kearny). Then, already up 9-3, NJCU went on another run (9-1) to make it 17-4, including three freshman kills Ryan Lin (Union, NJ/Union) in his debut, before riding his side to another 25-11 set win and the straight-set match win.
Highlights vs Sage:
– Senior Jonathan Andrews (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen) led all players with six kills on eight swings with one error (.625) dealing with a block, an ace and a count.
– Bajor led all players by 10 points (five kills and five aces) after an efficient match swing (5-of-6 with no errors, 0.833 strike rate).
Ferrari handed out a match-best 26 assists, scored four aces, four kills on five swings with one foul and tied the match-high with three total blocks.
– DaSilva led all players with a match- and career-high six aces to go with a few kills and a block.
– Rookie Mike McGehee (Avondale, Arizona/Agua Fria) finished his first-career game with four kills on seven swings with no errors (.571) to go with four digs and a match-high-tying three total blocks.
– As a team, NJCU batted an astonishing .519 (34-of-52 with seven errors) while holding the Gators at just .061 (13-of-49 with 10 errors).
– The Gothic Knights also had 20 aces against only three for Sage, among other statistical advantages.
Match #2: NJCU 3, Bard 0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-15)
This started off somewhat more evenly on both sides, as Bard (1-1) held a one-point lead to 13-12 in the first set. However, at that point, NJCU flew to a 5-0 run to take a 17-13 lead, including three more aces from Bajor. The Gothic Knights traded points back and forth, led 20-16, then made a statement by taking five of the last six points to win the first set, including two kills from DaSilva.
The second set was more of the same, with the Raptors still holding a 14-12 lead halfway through. Once again, however, Jersey City came right back with another point, this time 9-1, to take a 21-15 lead. Andrews recorded three murders in this series, while McGehee had two. Then NJCU took four of the last six points and took the set thanks to another kill from DaSilva – one of the team’s tri-captains. In the third and final set, NJCU this time didn’t allow Bard to take the early lead and led 7-3 initially, then 9-5. With 10-8 near the middle of the set, the Gothic Knights took Bard for an 8-1 run and kept the 18-9 advantage – including two more kills from Andrews. The Raptors were able to get a few points back to make it 22-15, but Jersey City capped it off with a kill and an ace from Andrew, plus a Raptor attack foul to take the win and the 2- 0 start.
Highlights vs Bard:
– Sharpening their rotation, seven Gothic Knights saw the word in victory. This included sophomores Mahmoud Serour (Kearny, NJ/Kearny), who switched from outside hitter to the team’s best libero in both games today. He tied the team high against Bard with eight digs.
– Andrew again led all players in kills, this time with 14 on 21 swings with two errors (.571), adding seven digs and an ace.
– DaSivla finished with eight kills, an ace, a count and a match-high-binding three total blocks.
– Both Bajor and McGehee finished with four kills and three total blocks each. The first also tied for team-high in digs with eight and served a match-best four aces.
– Ferrari handed out another match-high 26 assists with three aces, six digs and a match-high tying three total blocks.