ALBANY, NY – The Gators played tight in every set today, but Sage fell to #10 Hunter College 3-0 (25-22, 25-24, 25-18) and Penn State-Behrend 3-0 () Saturday afternoon.
In match one with nationally ranked Hunter (20-4), the Hawks jumped out to an 8-2 in set one lead until Sage (10-10) went on a 5-1 run to cut the lead down to 9-7. Hunter went back up by four on kills by Ben Crusinberry and Steven Tarquinio along with a Tarquinio and Nicolas Sanchez block. The Hawks took their biggest lead since the beginning of the set when a Tarquinio and Benjamin Cassidy block put Hunter up 18-13. After swapping points and the Hawks up 21-16, Sage made a stand and went on a 6-2 run led by Chris MacArthur (Ancram, NY/Taconic Hills), Bailey Cecchi (Agawam, MA/Agawam) and Shane Wenz (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane) to cut the lead to 23-22. However, Hunter responded with Sanchez and Tarquinio both scored on kills to seal the 25-22 win.
In set two, the Hawks started with an 8-3 lead. Sage cut down the lead to three on a Ryan Guyton (Lockport, NY/Lockport) kill to make the score 11-7. Both sides went back-and-forth until Sage's Zackery Karl (West Monroe, NY/Central Square) came up with a solo block to cut the lead down to 18-16. Hunter responded with Tarquinio kills and a Crusinberry ace to go back up by four. Down 22-18, Sage went on a 5-1 run to tie the match 23-23. A Kill by Crusinberry forced a set point, but a block by Guyton and Wenz tied the set at 24-24. With the help of a service error, a block by Tarquinio and Crusinberry scored the set point in the 26-24 win.
Down 2-0 in the match, Sage started the third set up 5-4 on the backs of Guyton, Karl, Cecchi and MacArthur. A kill by Daniel Dobrogowski tied the set at 5-5 and a Sage attack error gave the Hawks their third lead of the set. After a Hunter service error gave the set its sixth tie, the Hawks took the lead against on a Sage service error. Hunter then went on a 4-2 run to take an 11-8 lead. With the Hawks leading 17-13, a Crusinberry ace gave Hunter its largest lead of the match. Sage then responded with a 3-0 run to cut the lead to 18-16, but then the Hawks went back up 20-16 on a service ace and a Cassidy ace. Karl came up with a big kill to bring the lead back to three, but Hunter was too much and went on to win 25-18.
Sage was led by Guyton and Cecchi with 11.5 and 11 points, respectively. Guyton had 11 kills while Wenz led in hitting percentage with .353. Casey Fitzpatrick (Haverhill, MA/Haverhill) did work on both offense and defense with 38 assists and seven digs. Karl led the Gators in blocks with three.
On the other side of the net, Tarquinio of the match's leading scorer with 12.5 points, including a whopping seven blocks. Michael Jazgarski and Cassidy were also in double-digit scoring with 11.5 points and 10.5, respectively. Tarquinio had an impressive .667 hitting percentage while Jazgarski led the Hawks with ten kills. Nicolas Sanchez had a team high 3 assists and seven digs while the setter and Dobrogowski each chipped in four blocks apiece.
In the second match with PSU-Behrend (8-11), Sage started with a 5-3 lead until the Lions tied it at 6-6 on a Dillon Hildebrand ace. Both sides went back-and-forth until PSU-Bhrend took a 13-11 lead on a Trenton Munk kill. Sage responded with a Cecchi kill and an attack error to tie the set 13-13. The Lions put up a 5-1 run, their largest of the set to go up 18-14. PSU-Behrend kept the momentum up and went on to take set one 25-19.
In set two, Sage took a 16-9 lead led by Guyton, Cecchi, Wenz Karl and Fitzpatrick. The Lions responded with a 13-6 run to tie the match 22-22. PSU-Behrend took its second lead of the set on a Calvin Nowicki ace. A kill by Guyton tied the set 23-23. Hildebrand put the Lions back up by one, but a PSU-Behrend service error tied the set again. Tyler Herrmann put the Lions up 25-24 until a Wenz kill tied the set for the sixth time. Munk responded with a kill to force a set point, but Sage's Guyton came up with a kill to draw the set out for at least two more serves. However, two attack errors by Sage gave the Lions the 28-26 win.
After going down 8-7 in the third set, the Lions went on a 5-0 run to take a 12-8 lead. They built on the momentum and went up 20-13 on a Hildebrand kill. Sage dug deep and went on a 10-3run led by Cecchi, Wenz, Fitzpatrick and Guyton to tie the set 23-23. PSU-Behrend reclaimed the lead on an attack error, but a kill from Wenz tied the set against at 24-24. Munk's 14th kill put the Lions back up 25-24, and a Sage attack error gave the Lions the match point.
Guyton scored a match-high 17 points on 14 kills and three aces. Cecchi added 11 points on 10 kills and led the Gators with nine digs, just one away from a double-double. Wenz also scored 11 points on nine kills and four blocks. Fitzpatrick had a match-high 34 assists.
PSU-Behrend was led by Munk with 16.5 points on 14 kills and five blocks. Hildebrand chipped in 14 points on ten kills, three aces and two blocks. The Lions had two assists leaders in Anthony Sprentz and Calvin Nowicki with 24 and 14, respectively. Nowicki was also a leader on defense with eight digs for the Lions.
After his combined 28.5 points, Guyton is a mere 44 points away from hitting the 1,000 career mark.
The Gators open up Skyline Conference play on Tues., Mar. 21 as Sage hosts St. Joseph's-Long Island at 7 p.m.