CAMBRIDGE, MA There have been plenty of milestones for senior Matthew Knigge over the four seasons with the Vassar College men’s volleyball team, and that list grew a little longer Sunday afternoon as Knigge hammered 20 kills to surpass the 1,000 kill plateau in a 3-1 win over Nazareth College in United Volleyball Conference (UVC) action from the Rockwell Cage on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. VC won with scores of 26-24, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-13.
Knigge became just the eighth member of the 1000-kill club at Vassar College in the opening set, as he chalked up his sixth finish of the first game to give Vassar a 23-21 lead late in the set. The senior finished the match with 1,014 kills after his 20 on Sunday, and is within 51 terminations of Jesse Lam ‘03 for seventh on the all-time list.
After Knigge earned his milestone, the Brewers (8-3, 2-0 UVC) needed to scramble late to take the opening set. With the score 24-22 in favor of Vassar, Nazareth posted back-to-back points to force a timeout by the Brewers. VC would get a service error point to take a 25-24 lead, and sophomore Kevin Ros and freshman Ryan Duchemin combined for a set-clinching rejection to put VC up early. The Brewers chalked up a match-best 15 kills in the set, hitting .290 for the stanza.
The second set did not go the way that VC was hoping, as the Golden Flyers (7-5, 1-1 UVC) hammered down 14 finishes while attacking at a .455 rate to tie the match at a set apiece. The Brewers did lead during the first part of the set, but a 6-2 run by Nazareth pushed it out in front for good.
After the second set, Vassar’s defensive unit stepped up its game and allowed just 14 kills over the final two sets to stay undefeated in the UVC. During those two games, Vassar posted a combined 28 digs including 10 in the third set by freshman libero Garth Verdeflor. VC also chalked up 4.5 blocks over the final two sets, finishing with 11 for the contest.
Knigge’s kill total was a match-high, as he hit .417 on his 36 attempts, posting three digs and four assisted rejections as well. Junior George Diehl finished with 10 kills on 24 attempts, hitting .333 along with his seven digs, and Ros added six kills, 10 digs and five assisted blocks. Senior Zechariah Lee, who has assisted on so many of Knigge’s kills over the years, chalked up 44 Sunday while adding four aces, seven digs and three total blocks including one solo rejection.
Freshman Jefferson Waters also posted six terminations for the Brewers, posting two blocks as well, and Duchemin finished with a team-best six assisted blocks while adding four kills. Vassar finished with a hitting clip of .261 (51-21-115), while also edging Nazareth in the digs 43-40 thanks to the match-best 13 from Verdeflor.