GLEN COVE, N.Y. – Led by double-doubles from junior Raul Urshela (Orlando, Fla./Colonial), sophomore Taso Kostikas (Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood) and senior Iqbal Husain (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens), the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's volleyball overcame a two-set deficit in their regular season finale to defeat Webb Institute, 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-13, 17-15) in Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) play on Tuesday evening at the Alumni Gymnasium.
St. Joseph's (7-11, 4-2 HVIAC) concludes the regular season on a season-high three-match winning streak and matches the school record for wins in a season set last year, while Webb (3-7, 2-4 HVIAC) has dropped three in a row as they head into Thursday's HVIAC Tournament semifinals.
Urshela led the Bears on the night with his third double-double of the season by way of a season-high-tying 23 kills and 13 digs, including five kills in the pivotal fifth set. Kostikas secured his first double-double of the year with a season-high 12 kills and brought up 16 digs on the night.
Husain once again helped orchestrate the St. Joseph's offense, dishing out a season-high 39 assists and contributed a season-high 16 digs for his second double-double of the season.. Junior Clyde Delacruz (Brooklyn, N.Y./Frederick Douglas Acad. II) contributed a career-high 15 kills as the Bears slammed down 58 in total on the evening.
Brian Mills led the Webbies with 14 kills and a match-high 18 digs.
Playing in front of a raucous Webb home crowd, St. Joseph's got off to a strong start in the opening set as they jumped out to an 8-6 lead. It looked like the Bears would have the same success as they did in the first meeting between the two schools, but the Webbies had other plans as they used the electricity of the crowd to go on a 15-8 run to take their largest lead of the set at 21-16. St. Joseph's would rattle off four straight points to cut the lead to 21-20 forcing a Webb timeout. However, Webb responded with three consecutive points out of the timeout to take a 24-20 lead and would close out the set to take a 1-0 lead.
The Webbies took the second set rather easily, never trailing in the set and finished off the Bears with three straight points after St. Joseph's got within two, 22-20, on a kill by Kostikas to build a 2-0 advantage.
With the Bears facing the possibility of losing in straight sets and the crowd against them, St. Joseph's turned up their play to begin the third set opening the frame on an 8-1 run and would cruise the rest of the way as they hit .270 with six kills apiece from Urshela and Delacruz in the set to cut the deficit to 2-1, giving themselves a chance to make the improbable comeback.
The fourth set saw the Bears turn up the intensity of their play, leading from start-to-finish like they did in the third set. After Webb got within 6-5, St. Joseph's ensued with a 19-8 run to close the set and even up the score at 2-2 with the deciding fifth set next on the Bears' plate.
The crowd realizing the magnitude of the fifth set picked up its energy, but St. Joseph's silenced the fans with a strong start to the final set, building a 5-2 lead. However, the crowd once again got involved as the Webbies stormed back and made it a 10-9 game with the opportunity to tie up the score with the serve. The Bears dug deep and got a kill from sophomore Thomas Kennedy (Breezy Point, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) and an ace from senior Javier Bosque (Brooklyn, N.Y./LaSalle Academy) that gave St. Joseph's a 12-9 lead. The two teams continued to battle with Webb one point away from securing the match at 15-14, but the Bears pulled it together and scored three straight points to secure the improbable comeback and silence the home crowd one final time.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Other Contributors: Kennedy (4 K, 5 Ast, 5 D) Bosque (3 K, 2 Ast, 9 D)
- The contest featured 15 ties and four lead changes.
- The Bears hit .157 (58 K-30 E-178 A), while the Webbies maintained a .133 hitting percentage (46 K-25E-158 A)
- St. Joseph's had a school-record 48 total assists and 58 kills in the match.
- The Bears had 79 digs on the night, which is the second most all-time in school history and the most since March 23, 2009 versus Medgar Evers.
- St. Joseph's finished with 10 service aces and Webb served up eight aces.
THE BEAR FACTS
- The Bears improve to 6-7 all-time against the Webbies, having won the last six meetings.
- Tonight's matchup was a preview of the HVIAC Tournament semifinal that will take place this Thursday, April 10th at 6 p.m.
- Urshela's 23 kills is one shy of his career high set against Sarah Lawrence on April 11, 2013.
- Urshela now has a school-record 211 kills on the season, surpassing the record of 208 he set a year ago.
- The four conference wins and four road wins are the most in school history.
NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS - HVIAC Tournament
St. Joseph's heads to the HVIAC Tournament at Yeshiva University on Thursday, April 10th in search of their first conference tournament title, beginning with a semifinal rematch versus Webb Institute at 6 p.m.