Men's Volleyball Rallies to Defeat Medgar Evers in Five-Set Marathon in Opener

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Senior Clyde Delacruz (Brooklyn, N.Y./Frederick Douglas Academy II) slammed four of his team-high 14 kills in the deciding fifth set, including the match-winning kill as the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's volleyball team rallied to defeat borough rival Medar Evers College in a marathon battle at The Hill Center on Wednesday evening.

The Basics

  • Final Score: St. Joseph's 3, Medgar Evers 2
  • Set Scores: 14-25, 25-20, 15-25, 25-19, 15-13
  • Records: St. Joseph's (1-0, 0-0 Skyline), Medgar Evers (0-2, 0-0 CUNYAC)
  • Date: February 3, 2016
  • Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Arena: The Hill Center

How it Happened

  • The Cougars, who already had a match under their belt, raced out to a 10-6 lead in the opening set and never looked back, hitting .400 in the frame, to take the set.
  • The Bears found a groove in the second stanza, running off five straight behind the service of Thomas Henderson, taking a 21-14 lead and maintaining the separation the rest of the frame.
  • After the visitors came alive late in the third set to take another one-set lead, the Bears leveled the match again in the fourth set, breaking open a set that was deadlocked at 15-all winning six straight points—Alec Smalley, Thomas Ambrosino and Norrin Martinez all contributing kills to the spurt—to force a deciding fifth set.
  • In the finale, the Bears raced out to a 6-1 lead, with Delacruz generating the early momentum with a pair of kills and the Cougars aiding the Bears cause with three miscues. But the visitors would close the gap, pulling within one at 11-10 and drawing even at 13-all, before Thomas Kennedy pounded a kill off the back row to set up match point and Delacruz completed off the comeback banging a kill off the blocking wall.  

For the Bears

  • Delacruz's 14 kills fell one shy of his career high, set two seasons ago. The senior committed just five errors on 32 swings for a .281 hitting percentage.
  • Senior Thomas Kennedy anchored the defense with a match-high 20 digs and collected a team second-best 13.5 points with eight kills and five aces.
  • In his first game in a Bears uniform, sophomore transfer Alec Smalley chipped in a career-best nine kills and four digs.
  • Senior Norrin Martinez directed the offense with 31 assists, one ace and four digs.
  • Playing their first collegiate games, Thomas Ambrosino added five kills and Kyle Johnson contributed three kills.

For the Cougars

  • Angel Seda led the visitors with a 25-assist, 10-dig double-double.
  • Jamal Chance paced all attackers with 16 kills and eight digs.
  • Shaquile Miller also finished in double-figures with 10 kills and a match-high six aces.

Inside the Box Score

  • There were 18 ties and nine lead changes in the match. The Bears never trailed in the fifth-and-deciding set.
  • Medgar Evers was the more efficient offense hitting .149 (37-22-101) while the Bears operated at a .016 hitting (41-39-123)

The Bear Facts

  • It is the first Bears victory for Patrick Dietz, who became the third head coach in program history last Fall. 
  • When the teams met in last season's Bears' opener at The Hill Center, St. Joseph's also outlasted the Cougars in five sets.
  • St. Joseph's has now won the last nine meetings dating back to 2012 and improves to 10-6 all-time. Four of those meetings have gone the distance with SJC holding a 3-1 record in the five-set affairs.
  • The Bears will look to make it 10 straight when the squads meet on March 8th at the Cougars Cave.

Next Up for St. Joseph's

The Bears will continue a four-match stretch at The Hill Center to open the season, welcoming another borough foe, Brooklyn College, on Monday, February 8th for a 7 p.m. non-conference clash. Live stats and video will be available on SJCBears.com.