POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Gators traveled to #6 Vassar on Thursday night and dropped the non-conference match 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-18).
Sage's (7-6) Shane Wenz (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane) had a team-high 9.5 points on nine kills and one block. The freshman hit .615 on 13 total attacks. Setter Casey Fitzpatrick (Haverhill, MA/Haverhill) recorded 20 assists while libero Melvin Tejada (Springfield, MA/Springfield Central) came up seven digs.
On the other side of the net, the Brewers were led by Matthew Knigge with 12.5 points on eight kills, five blocks and one ace. Christian Lizana and George Diehl each came up with 10 points with a combined 13 kills, seven blocks and one ace. Zachariah Lee led the match with 32 assists while Trey Cimorelli recorded a match-high 11 digs.
In set one, Vassar jumped out to a 15-7 lead led by Diehl and Yoni Auerbach. Sage cut the lead down to 15-9 on a Ryan Guyton (Lockport, NY/Lockport) ace, but the Brewers extended their lead to 20-10 on a triple block by Lee, Diehl and Lizana. Sage was able to score three more points, but Vassar took the set 25-13 to go up 1-0 in the match.
The second set started off with Vassar up 9-5 until a 9-5 Gator run led by Guyton, Wenz, Fitzpatrick and Bailey Cecchi (Agawam, MA/Agawam) tied the set at 14-14. The Brewers responded with a 5-2 run of their own to go up 19-16. A Cecchi kill cut the lead down to 19-17. Both sides swapped points until a Lizana kill put Vassar up 24-21. A kill from Wenz kept the set alive for Sage (24-22 score), but another triple block from Lee, Lizana and Diehl sealed the deal for the Brewers and they took the second set 25-22.
With Vassar up 2-0 in the match, the third set started in a 9-9 tie. The Brewers went on a 3-0 run that featured another triple block from Lizana, Knigge and Lee to go up 12-9. Sage was able to cut the lead down to 12-10 on a double block from Zackery Karl (West Monroe, NY/Central Square) and Jarod Martel (Albany, NY/Colonie Central). Both sides went back-and-forth until Vassar took an 18-14 lead on an Auerbach kill. A Brewer attack error cut the lead down to 18-15. Both teams traded points until a 4-0 run by Vassar clinched the third set 25-18 and the set 3-0.
The Gators face their third nationally ranked opponent on Sat., Feb.25 in #1 Springfield at 1 p.m. Following their match with The Pride, Sage plays Johnson & Wales (RI) at 3 p.m.