LANCASTER, Pa. – The SUNYIT Men's Volleyball Team fell in the semifinal match of the NEAC Championship Tournament on Saturday, 3-1 to third-seed and eventual tournament champion Keuka College. The Wildcats were seeded second to start the tournament, after finishing the year with a 4-2 conference record.
Things looked good early for the 'Cats, as SUNYIT won a thrilling first set 26-24. But the Storm came back in the second, winning 25-22 and setting up a critical third set that saw seven tie scores and four lead changes. Unfortunately for SUNYIT, the Wildcats ended up on the wrong side of the tumultuous set, as Keuka rallied to take it 25-23.
With the momentum squarely in their corner, Keuka took the fourth set 25-20, winning the match 3-1 and advancing to the tournament championship.
For the Wildcats, veteran hitter Timothy Maracic (Franklin Square, N.Y. / Carey) led the way with 14 kills, while fellow NEAC All-Conference member Jeff Knapp (Hamlin, N.Y. / Brockport) had a match-high 40 assists and 12 digs.
Keuka was led, of course, by NEAC Player of the Year Connor Hinman. Hinman posted 11 kills and 14 digs on the day.
One of the keys for the Storm was their ability to keep NEAC Rookie of the Year Alan Davids (Hilton, N.Y. / Hilton) relatively in check. The 6-4 freshman still posted 8 kills on a .400 hitting percentage, but was kept from putting up some of the bigger kill numbers of which he's capable.
Despite the disappointing outcome for the Wildcats, 2013 was a decided step in the right direction. The team improved upon its win total of a season ago by 7, and showed itself to be a force in the newly formed NEAC conference. With a host of young talent, the future certainly looks bright for the Wildcats.