RIVERDALE, NY – After being down two sets to one, Sage forced a fifth set after winning 25-21, but Mt. St. Vincent took the final set 15-11 to hold on to the 3-2 win Wednesday night.
Junior Ryan Guyton (Lockport, NY/Lockport) became the third player in Sage history to reach the 1,000th career point milestone with 26.5 point night.
In the first set, Sage (12-12, 2-2 Skyline) jumped out to a 6-2 lead with points from Austin Laverty (Schenectady, NY/Mohonasen) and Chris MacArthur (Ancram, NY/Taconic Hills). The Dolphins then went on a 6-2 run to tie the set 8-8. Both teams went back-and-forth until Sage scored seven unanswered points on the backs of Laverty, Guyton, Shane Wenz (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane) and Bailey Cecchi (Agawam, MA/Agawam) to take the first set 25-20.
Sage took the largest lead of the second set16-13 on a Wenz kill. The Gators extended their lead to 18-14 on a kill from Guyton. Mt. St. Vincent () cut down the lead to 21-20 on a 6-3 run led by Tyler Cucullu. The Dolphins tied the set 22-22 on a Cucullu ace. Sage and Mt. St. Vincent traded points until the Dolphins went up 24-23 on a Neven Skoblar block. They took the set on the next serve on a Sage attack error to win 25-23.
With the game tied 1-1, the third set started out tied 7-7 until Mt. St. Vincent took an 11-7 lead on an attack error. The Gators responded with an 8-4 run led by Wenz and Guyton to tie the set 15-15. Over the next 14 serves, Sage took a 23-21 lead on a block by MacArthur and Tyler Schnaible (Ballston Lake, NY/Shenendahowa). The Dolphins then went on a 3-0 run on the backs of Cucullu, Jordan Steiger and Owen Smith to take the set 25-23.
In a must-win set for Sage, Mt. St. Vincent started out winning the set 6-3 before Sage went on an 11-8 run led by Guyton, Wenz, Schnaible, Cecchi and Jarod Martel (Albany, NY/Colonie Central) to tie the set 14-14. The Gators then scored another three unanswered points that included two straight Cecchi kills to go up 17-14. Over the next six sets, the Gators took their largest lead on a Cecchi ace to go up 21-16. Mt. St. Vincent responded with a 3-1 run to cut the lead down to 22-19. However, it wasn't enough and Sage forced a fifth set after a 3-2 run ended the set 25-21 in favor of the Gators.
The fifth set started in a 4-4 tie before the Dolphins took a 6-4 lead on a Cucullu kil and a Sage attack error. The Gators countered with a 3-1 run to tie the set 7-7. Sage then scored two unanswered points on a Guyton kill and a Cecchi ace to take 9-7. The Gator lead didn't hold long, however, and Mt. St. Vincent went on 5-2 run to take a 13-11 lead. After a Sage timeout, the Dolphins scored another two points on a block and kill by Cucullu to win the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.
Guyton was the leading scorer for Sage with 26.5 points on 26 kills and one block. Wenz then followed with 16 points on 10 kills, an impressive seven blocks and one ace. Also in double-digit scoring was Cecchi with 12.5 points with nine kills, three aces and one block. Laverty had a career-high 54 assists while Casey Fitzpatrick (Haverhill, MA/Haverhill) had an impressive 23 digs, 13th in the country in five set matches.
With tonight's performance, Guyton tied the five-set kills record while Fitzpatrick sits at 3rd in five-set digs. In addition, Wenz's effort is 3rd in five-set blocks while Laverty is tied for 5th in five-set assists.
On the other side of the net, Cucullu recorded a match-high 37 points on 29 kills, five blocks and three aces. Skoblar also led the Dolphins in scoring with 10 points on six kills and six blocks. Logan Dickover rounded out Mt. St. Vincent on office with 48 assists. Dickover and Augustine Ameruso had big nights on defense with 10 and 13 digs, respectively.
Sage currently sits in the Skyline 2-2 and in sixth place. Leading the conference is Kean at 5-0 followed by Ramapo and Mt. St. Vincent at 4-1. Sitting in the fourth and fifth place spots are Purchase and St. Joseph's – Long Island each with a 3-2 record.
The Gators are set to continue their conference schedule on Sat., Apr. 1 in a tri-match at NJCU. Sage will face Sarah Lawrence at 1 p.m. followed by NJCU at 3 p.m.