BROOKLYN, NY - Playing in their first season as a varsity sport, the St. Joseph's College men's volleyball team got their first win defeating Medgar Evers College 3-2 in a dramatic five set match. The win snaps a 20-game losing streak dating back to last season where the program began as a club sport.
Jon Matzelle (Queens, NY/St. Francis Prep) led the Bears attack with 13 kills and added 22 digs on the defensive end. Ed Han (McLean, VA/W.T. Woodson) dished out 16 assists and had a team-high 28 digs with five service aces and five kills. Luke Klimasewski (Queens, NY/St. John's Prep) and Maciej Sadowski (Brooklyn, NY/Cathedral Prep) each had seven kills and three block assists. Mohammed Ali Bhati (Brooklyn, NY/James Madison) dug up 16.
The Bears dropped the opening set 30-23 falling behind by seven at 14-7 and unable to cut the deficit under four points. St. Joe's trailed by as many as 10 with the Medgar Evers attack hitting .159 (13 kills).
St. Joseph's jumped out to an early 12-4 lead with Klimaszewski (Queens, NY/St. providing the spark with three kills and one block assist. Medgar tied the set at 17-17 and later at 25-25, but several Cougar errors down the stretch gave the second set to the Bears 30-27.
The third set swung the momentum heavily in St. Joseph's favor. Both teams exchanged points early with the set remaining tied at 10-10. Medgar Evers went on a 13-4 run thanks to five St. Joe's attack errors. With a nine-point lead the Cougars appeared to have the set in hand, but Matzelle and Klimaszewski each served up five points to spark the comeback. Matzelle started his service trailing 16-24. Klimaszewski closed out the set for St. Joseph's starting his service at 25-28 taking the final five points to steal the set from Medgar 30-28 and left the Cougars and their fans in disbelief. Greg Creamer (Staten Island, NY/Moore Catholic) had a key solo block at 28-28 that gave set point to the Bears.
With St. Joseph's up 2-1 and holding only their second ever lead, the two teams played the most exciting set of the night that found both teams going back and forth for 13 ties and seven lead changes. Medgar Evers built a five-point lead on two separate occasions. With St. Joe's trailing 19-15, Han served four straight points, including two aces, to equalize the set at 19. Both teams continued to side out for the remainder of the set unable to build more than a two point advantage. St. Joseph's served for their first-ever match point at 29-28 but Medgar took three straight points to send the match into a deciding fifth set.
The Bears were 0-3 in deciding sets this season, including a loss to Medgar in their first meeting. St. Joseph's appeared to draw upon their experience, eliminating many of the errors that caused them to fall behind early and unable to catch up. The Bears trailed 2-3 early, then Ben Lee (New York, NY/Professional Business College) served three straight aces to take back the lead they wouldn't relinquish. St. Joseph's extended their lead to 10-5 prompting a Medgar timeout. In the final set, the Bears hit .308 committing no attack errors, while Medgar hit -.038 committing six errors. St. Joseph's benefitted from the Medgar miscues to close out the final set 15-7.
St. Joseph's improves to 1-15 and Medgar Evers falls to 1-27 on the season.
The Bears enter the last week of their freshman varsity season facing Cooper Union tomorrow at Brooklyn Technical H.S. at 7:30 p.m and Purchase College on Friday, March 27 at Lincoln H.S. at 6 p.m. St. Joseph's concludes their season with a rubber match against Medgar Evers College on Monday, March 30 scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Technical High School.