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Men’s Volleyball Finishes 1-3 at Fisher Invitational

Brandon Long passing (photo courtesy of Lauren Gardner '25)
Brandon Long passing (photo courtesy of Lauren Gardner '25)

By: Athletic Communications Student Assistant Paige Phillips '23

ROCHESTER, New York – The Baldwin Wallace University men's volleyball team traveled to St. John Fisher College (N.Y.) and Nazareth College (N.Y.) to compete against No. 7 nationally-ranked Rutgers University at Newark (N.J.), No. 14 St. John Fisher, No. 13 Nazareth, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute (N.Y.) in the two-day Fisher Invite. The Yellow Jackets (5-7) fell against the three ranked opponents but were victorious in the match against SUNY Poly in a five-set thriller.

  • Lost to Rutgers-Newark 3-0 (32-30, 25-18, 25-16)
  • Lost to St. John Fisher 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-19)
  • Lost to Nazareth 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-23)
  • Won vs SUNY Poly 3-2 (25-22, 25-20, 20-25, 13-25, 15-7)

Match 1 vs. Rutgers-Newark (5-1)

Set 1

  • BW (4-6) and Rutgers-Newark (5-1) were tied early in the first set until the Yellow Jackets got some momentum with a 11-4 run.
  • Rutgers-Newark tied the score at 15-15 before taking the lead.
  • A huge kill by sophomore All-Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League outside hitter Michael Beard (Hilliard/Darby) tied the set again at 19-19.
  • Back-and-forth play forced extra points, but three straight from Rutgers-Newark allowed them to take the first set by a score of 32-30.

Set 2

  • The Yellow Jackets kept the score close until Rutgers-Newark pulled ahead with a 9-2 streak.
  • Beard hit a huge kill to cut Rutgers-Newark's lead down to 15-13.
  • A 7-0 run allowed Rutgers-Newark to gain a steady lead, claiming the game win by a 25-18 score.

Set 3

  • Rutgers-Newark led the Yellow Jackets 6-1 early in set three.
  • BW closed the gap with a 5-0 run and worked to keep the score tight.
  • A few short runs for Rutgers-Newark gave them a strong lead and they took the second set, along with the match win 25-16. 

The Yellow Jackets were led in the first match by Beard with 11 kills and two digs. Freshman right side hitter Michael Devlin (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) tallied 10 kills and three digs, while sophomore setter Brandon Long (Hinckley/Metea Valley, Ill.) dished out 25 assists and four digs.

Match 2 vs. St. John Fisher (10-2)

Set 1

  • The Yellow Jackets caught the lead early in the first set, holding a steady two-point lead over St. John Fisher (10-2).
  • St. John Fisher was able to tie the score at 11-11 but a huge kill from sophomore middle hitter Chris Moehl (Oceanside, Calif./El Camino) gave BW the lead again.
  • St. John Fisher found a lead and pulled ahead, and a few short runs gave them the first set win at 25-19.

Set 2

  • The Cardinals and the Yellow Jackets were tied 4-4 in the first set until St. John Fisher took the lead with a short run.
  • With St. John Fisher holding a lead the whole set, the Yellow Jackets worked to close the gap, but St. John Fisher outlasted them and took he second set win at 25-17.

Set 3

  • The Cardinals continued to hold an advantage until a huge kill by sophomore outside hitter Nick Irelan (Powell/Olentangy) cut their lead down to one.
  • A short 5-0 scoring run gave the Cardinals some momentum as the Yellow Jackets chipped away at their lead, but ultimately dropped the set (25-19) and match.

Irelan led the Yellow Jackets in the second match with nine kills and three digs. Long tallied 23 assists, three digs, and one kill. Devlin also added seven kills and two digs.

Match 3 vs Nazareth (14-2)

Set 1

  • With the score tied 10-10, a BW service error and three Nazareth aces forced a Yellow Jacket timeout and gave the Golden Flyers a four-point lead.
  • BW worked from behind the rest of the set but fell in game one by a 25-19 score.

Set 2

  • Nazareth earned the early lead in set two, being up as much as five points (11-6).
  • With BW battling back to 14-15, Nazareth went on a 10-2 run to close the set 25-16.

Set 3

  • The Yellow Jackets earned a 4-1 early advantage.
  • The Golden Flyers rallied to claim back the set, 13-8.
  • BW worked to bring it back within one point at 22-23.
  • Nazareth scored two of the next three to win the set (25-23) and match.

Irelan led BW with seven kills. Long contributed 17 assists and three service aces. Moehl notched three blocks while Devlin tallied seven kills and four digs.

Match 4 vs SUNY Poly (2-10)

Set 1

  • The Wildcats were up 17-12 before the Yellow Jackets fought back to tie the game at 19-19 with a kill from Beard.
  • A block by Devlin and kill from Irelan forced a SUNY Poly timeout (22-21 BW).
  • The Yellow Jackets tallied three of the next four to claim set one (25-22).

Set 2

  • BW led the majority of the set, but didn't find its largest lead until late with the Yellow Jackets grabbing a four-point advantage at 23-19.
  • The Yellow Jackets closed set (25-20) one with a kill from Irelan.

Set 3

  • It was a lot of point-for-point action until mid-set when the Wildcats notched three big blocks in a row to grab a 15-12 advantage and force a Yellow Jacket timeout.
  • SUNY Poly continued to extend their lead out of the break and grabbed set two by a 25-20 score.

Set 4

  • The Wilcats led the whole set and found themselves up 12-9 mid-set.
  • SUNY Poly continued to keep the momentum in their favor, forcing set five with a 13-4 run to win set four, 25-13.

Set 5

  • A kill from Devlin notched a 4-1 BW lead and forced a Wildcat timeout.
  • Two more kills from Devlin extended the Yellow Jacket advantage to 7-2.
  • Back-to-back kills by BW's Moehl and Beard put BW up 12-6 and caused SUNY Poly to take their final timeout.
  • A kill from Devlin and a block by Beard and Moehl earned BW the big five-set victory.

Devlin led the way for BW as he notched 23 kills and six digs. Beard posted 13 kills and five digs while Irelan tallied 12 kills and five digs. Long dished out 47 assists and added two service aces. Freshman libero/defensive specialist Andrew Soriano (Aurora, Ill./Benet Academy) added 10 digs.

The Yellow Jackets will return to action on Friday, February 18 as they host Olivet (Mich.) College for the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League opener. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. in Ursprung Gymnasium inside the Lou Higgins Center.