CHICOPEE, Mass. – Sage came back to force a final fifth set against Elms College, but the Lightning proved to be too much as they took the game 3-2 (25-22, 25-27, 26-24, 21-25, 15-11).
After losing the first set and down 24-22 in the second, an Elms service error and an Anthony Gerace (East Greenbush, NY/Columbia) service ace, the Gators tied the score 24-24. The Lightning's Daniel Bondarovsky responded with a kill to put Elms up by one, but two kills by Bailey Cecchi (Agawam, MA/Agawam) and an Elms attack error led the Gators to a 27-25 win in set two.
After more close back and forth action in the third set, Elms went up 2-1 after a 26-24 win.
The Gators controlled play for much of the fourth set going up 17-10 early on. The Lightning staged a small comeback, knocking the lead down to three points with a 23-20 score, but an Elms ball handling error and a kill by Ryan Guyton (Lockport, NY/Lockport) ensured the 25-21 win.
The score stayed within a one point margin in the fifth set until Elms went up 12-9. A kill from Guyton brought the lead back down to two points, but the Lightning would go on to win the set and the game 15-11.
Guyton had a monster evening with a season high 18 kills on 25 points. The sophomore added five service aces, two blocks (1 BS, 2 BA) and nine digs. Cecchi and Zachary Karl (Central Square, NY/Central Square) added power on offense with 12 and nine kills respectively. Cecchi had a total 13.5 points while Karl recorded a career-high 10.5 points.
Casey Fitzpatrick (Haverhill, MA/Haverhill) recorded a season-high 41 assists with nine digs while Melvin Tejada (Springfield, MA/Springfield Central) recorded a game-high ten digs.
Bondarovsky recorded a game-high 21 kills and three blocks (1 BS, 4 BA) on 25.0 points. John Dunphy had 43 assists while Angel Castro hit five service aces. Castro and Gabriel Reis Levy led the way on defense for the Lightning with ten digs a piece.
Sage goes on a Skyline road trip this weekend as they take on Kean (1:00 p.m.) and St. Joseph's (Bklyn) (3:00 p.m.) on Saturday at St. Joe's followed by Mt. St. Vincent (11:00 a.m.) and NJCU (2:00 p.m.) on Sunday at CMSV.