Vassar Volleyball Punches Ticket to Final Four

By Steven Merritt

BOSTON, MA – In one of the most thrilling NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship matches of all-time, the #8 Vassar College Men’s Volleyball team punched its ticket to the Final Four on Saturday evening as the Brewers triumphed 27-25, 26-28, 25-20, 19-25, 18-16 over #3 Wentworth in the National Quarterfinals.

The Brewers will head to Dubuque, Iowa to square off with NYU in the National Semifinals on Friday evening at 8:30 p.m and Vassar will play in the Final Four for the second straight season.

First Set
Wentworth earned a 12-6 lead to begin the opening set behind the kills of Jacob LaBouliere and Jacob Waga.

Vassar climbed back in the match at 17-14 on a kill from senior Vaughn Ramsey before the Leopards increased the lead to 19-14 on a LaBouliere winner.

The Brewers tallied four straight points behind two kills each from senior Andrew Guaragno and first year Armaan Desai to trim the lead to 19-18.

Three straight aces from junior Billy Fan evened the set at 24 all and Vassar completed the comeback with back-to-back kills from Ramsey.

Second Set
Once again, the Leopards took an early 12-7 advantage before Vassar battled back to 15-13 after Ramsey’s two winners.

Sam Etter’s winner expanded the lead to 17-14 until the Brewers evened the set at 19 on a winner from Desai.

After Vassar took a one-point lead on a kil from Fan, the Leopards regained the lead at 21-20 on an ace from LaBouliere.

Desai’s kill evened the set at 26 apiece before Wentworth took two straight points on a service error and a kill from LaBouliere to take the second set.

Third Set
Vassar took a 5-4 lead on a winner from junior Gavin Akoto before Wentworth countered with four of the next five points behind two kills from Waga.

A solo block from Waga pushed the Leopards lead to 14-11 before Vassar scored three straight points, led by two kills from Guaragno and a block from Guaragno and Desai evened the set at 14.

Following Nicolai Bell’s kill that put Wentworth ahead 17-16, the Brewers used kills from Kim and Fan along with a block from Desai gave Vassar a 19-17 lead.

Bell’s winner tied the set at 19 before Vassar used two kills and a solo block from Kim to go ahead 23-20.

A service ace from Kim along with a Wentworth attack error clinched the third set victory for Vassar.

Fourth Set
Wentworth held a 7-5 lead to open the set following two kills from Waga and one from LaBouliere.

The lead was cut to 13-11 after kills from Kim and Akoto before it grew to 16-13 on a winner from LaBouliere.

The Leopards expanded the lead to 22-17 after another Waga winner, a kill from Bell and an ace from Waga.

Wentworth won the fourth set 25-18 after Waga and LaBouliere buried winners to send it to a deciding fifth set.

Fifth Set
Vassar took a 3-1 lead on a kill from Ramsey and a block from Ramsey and Akoto before Wentworth surged ahead 5-4 on a block from Bell and an ace from Waga.

The Leopards advantage increased to 8-5 on a kill from Bell followed by a block from Bell and Josh Milke and an ace from Ryan Roller.

Vassar drew within 10-9 on back-to-back winner from Akoto and Ramsey, forcing a Wentworth timeout.

Wentworth connected on consecutive points following a kill and an ace from LaBouliere, leading to a Vassar timeout.

After a Leopards service error and a block from Ramsey and Akoto, Vassar cut it to 12-11 and Wentworth used its second timeout.

Vassar took a 13-12 lead following kills from Akoto and Ramsey until Wentworth drew even at 14 on a winner from Etter.

Junior Tobias Clark landed the game-winning ace to push Vassar to the Final Four for the second straight season.

Ramsey buried a career-high 21 kills (.457) while Kim put together an incredible night with 15 kills, 29 assists, four digs.

Desai recorded nine kills and three blocks along with Guaragno tallied eight winners, three digs and two blocks.

Senior AJ Erickson handed out 27 assists while first year Tucker Shearn lifted a team-high 10 digs.

Fan notched five kills, four aces and two digs for Vassar.

Waga buried a match-high 25 kills, two blocks, two aces and eight digs while LaBouliere had 14 kills, four aces, 10 digs and two blocks.

Bell notched 10 kills and six blocks along with Brandon Dunz recorded eight kills and two blocks.

Etter finished with six kills while Milke handed out 57 assists along with three blocks and seven digs.

Mason Andrade lifted eight digs at libero.

Vassar will head to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa to take on NYU in the Final Four on Friday night at 8:30 p.m.

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