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Vassar Punches Ticket to National Championship

The #8 Vassar College Men’s Volleyball team completed an incredible comeback after being down two sets to one and defeated #7 NYU. Photo: Carlisle Stockton
The #8 Vassar College Men’s Volleyball team completed an incredible comeback after being down two sets to one and defeated #7 NYU. Photo: Carlisle Stockton

By Steven Merritt

DUBUQUE, IA – In a rematch of this season’s UVC Championship match, the #8 Vassar College Men’s Volleyball team completed an incredible comeback after being down two sets to one and defeated #7 NYU 25-21, 20-25, 18-25, 25-19, 21-19 in the National Semifinals to punch their ticket to its first ever NCAA National Championship appearance in school history.

With the victory, Head Coach Richard Gary is now tied with Jonathan Penn for the most victories in Vassar College Men’s Volleyball history with 158 total wins.The Brewers record improves to 26-7 overall and will take on #4 Cal Lutheran in the National Championship on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time.

First Set
Both teams went back-and-forth in the early stages as back-to-back kills from seniors Vaughn Ramsey and Jacob Kim to take an 8-6 lead.

Vassar’s lead grew to 13-8 following a kill from Kim along with a winner and a solo block from junior Gavin Akoto.

NYU trimmed the advantage to 19-17 on consecutive kills from Emerson Evans and Luke Boyer.

The Violets evened the set at 21 all following a kill from Buddy Cohen and two VC errors before a kill from Ramsey and a block from Akoto and junior Payne Lounsbery to go ahead 23-21.

Vassar took the opening set 25-21 after a kill from Akoto and a NYU attack error.

Second Set
The Violets took an early 5-2 advantage behind winners from Lucas Osiecki and Luke Boyer and a block from Ry Kagan.

Vassar cut the lead to one at 6-5 after back-to-back kills from Ramsey before NYU built the lead back to 8-5 after a kill from Osiecki.

NYU pushed the lead to 12-8 following a couple VC errors, forcing a Vassar timeout.

Back-to-back kills from Cohen extended the NYU lead to 16-9 and led to the second Brewers timeout.

Vassar cut the lead to 19-17 on a kill each from Fan and senior Andrew Guaragno and a block from senior Colin Jones and Ramsey.

NYU evened the match at one set apiece following a block from Boyer and Cohen to win 25-20.

Third Set
Vassar picked up the first four points on two kills from Kim and a winner from Fan along with a block from Jones to force a NYU timeout.

NYU evened the set at five apiece on a winner from Matthew Warter and took its first lead at 7-6 on a solo block from Kagan.

The Violets pushed ahead 16-12 after consecutive kills from Boyer and Evans along with a block from Cohen and Devyn Nguyen.

Two kills from Boyer followed by a block from Evans and Kagan increased the NYU lead to 20-15.

NYU clinched the third set 25-18 following a VC service error.

Fourth Set
The Violets took a 7-4 lead on kills from Osiecki and Boyer before Vassar trimmed the lead to 8-7 on a kill from Akoto.

Vassar earned a 12-10 advantage following an ace from Lounsbery, kill from Fan and a block from Jones.

NYU cut the lead down to one on a solo block from Cohen before consecutive kills from Ramsey and Akoto put Vassar ahead 19-16.

The Brewers used kills from Ramsey and Kim to earn the fourth set victory and extend the match to the all-deciding fifth set.

Fifth Set
The two squads traded points as Vassar took a 6-4 lead on a winner from Kim and an error from NYU.

The Brewers extended the lead to 9-6 on an ace from Jones, forcing NYU’s second timeout.

NYU tallied the next four points to go ahead 10-9 following two kills from Osiecki.

Vassar evened the score at 12 on a winner from Ramsey before Osiecki landed another kill to go ahead 13-12.

The Brewers tied the score at 15 following a kill from Fan until NYU evened it at 16.

Both teams traded match points until 19-18 NYU when Vassar ripped off three straight points on a kill from Kim and Ramsey’s solo block put the Brewers into the NCAA National Championship match for the first time in school history.

For The Brewers
Ramsey finished with a team-high 16 kills and three blocks while Kim tallied 12 kills, 11 digs and 23 assists.

Akoto recorded 12 kills and five blocks along with Fan adding nine winners and five digs.

Jones chipped in six kills and five blocks while Lounsbery registered three kills, an ace, two blocks and nine digs.

Senior AJ Erickson handed out a team-high 28 assists and added six digs while first year Tucker Shearn lifted a team-high 16 digs.

For The Violets
Osiecki buried a match-high 19 kills and 12 digs while Boyer tallied 14 kills, two blocks and five digs.

Evans collected 10 kills, two blocks and eight digs along with Cohen recording eight kills and five blocks.

Kagan finished with seven winners and four blocks while Nguyen handed out 54 assists and lifted 15 digs.

Zach Knudsen lifted a match-high 17 digs for the Violets.

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