BRONXVILLE, NY - The St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's volleyball team won their first HVMAC contest in program history Thursday night, coming back from a set down on the road to defeat the Sarah Lawrence Gryphons, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-22). Three players recorded statistical career highs in the four set triumph.
Ambidextrous junior Martin Torres (Ozone Park, NY/St. Francis Prep) improved his career and school best, tallying 16 kills on a .375 hitting percentage, with several of them coming left-handed. Freshman middle Raul Urshela (Orlando, FL/Colonial) chipped in with 11 kills, while senior outside hitter Raymond Morales (Brooklyn, NY/La Salle Academy) added eight kills, eight digs and three aces in a nice all-around performance. The hitters were fed by sophomore setter Iqbal Husain (West Palm Beach, FL/Palm Beach Gardens), who dished out a career high 29 assists. Freshman Michael Miner (Schenevus, NY/Schenevus) tallied a career high 12 digs.
The matchup was highly anticipated between the two squads, as they had performed almost identically against common opponent Medgar Evers. The Bears came in having twice defeated Medgar in 4 sets, while the Gryphons dropped Medgar in five sets and also in a sweep. The Gryphons struck first, erasing a 23-22 deficit down the stretch with three unanswered points.
The second set was equally tight with several lead changes throughout. The Bears stared at a two set deficit down 22-21 in the 2nd, but finished the set 4-1 to knot things up at a set apiece. That late burst switched the momentum over to the Bear side, as they would hold the Gryphons under 20 in the third set.
Sarah Lawrence would not die on their home court, taking a seemingly commanding 15-10 lead in the middle of set four. St. Joseph's regained their mojo when a hard Sarah Lawrence attack was barely dug up by Urshela. The ball rocketed into the net and was played out by Husain, and Torres was able to send it across. The Bears won the point and used it to go on a 14-3 run and earn match point. Some Bear mistakes allowed the Gryphons to pull within 24-22, but Urshela jammed an outside set through a double block to finish the match off.
St. Joseph's improves to 3-6 overall 1-2 in conference at the halfway point of the schedule. Sarah Lawrence falls to 3-9 overall and 1-4 in the HVMAC. The two teams will go at it again Friday night at Brooklyn Technical High School at 7 PM. The Bears will also play Cooper Union at 8:30 PM. Cooper defeated St. Joseph's in four sets in Lower Manhattan two weeks ago.