ALTOONA, PA. - The SUNY Poly men's volleyball season came to an end this past weekend with a loss to Penn State Altoona in the NEAC semi-final match. The Wildcats fell to the Nitany Lions in a hard-fought four set match. The scores of the match were 18-25, 25-20, 25-27, 22-25.
In the first set, the Wildcats struggled on the attack, hitting just .061 with eight errors. Altoona on the other hand hit over .300 as a team.
Max Szuba (Irondequoit, N.Y.) had four kills in the first set for the Wildcats. Bradley Colditz had four kills for Altoona.
The second set was a much more sound set on the attack for the Wildcats who hit .438 on 32 swings. The match was a back and forth battle with SUNY Poly holding on to a slim lead for the entire set. The Wildcats never had more than a five-point lead, earning the second set win 25-20.
Three Wildcats had four kills in the set. Robert Nilsen (Bohemia, N.Y.) had four kills and a service ace. Ryan Gloff (Brockport, N.Y.) had four kills on five swings. James Homan (Fairport, N.Y.) had four kills on four swings. Zach Goggin (Feeding Hills, Mass.) assisted on 14 of the Wildcats 16 kills in the set.
Daniel Downs had four kills in the set for Altoona. Wally Rivera-Berrios had five digs.
Set number three was another back and forth set. The Wildcats got out to a 12-6 lead early in the set but Altoona would go on a late run to bring the score to 20-20 down the stretch. The Wildcats and Nittany Lions would trade points back and forth, tying the match at 25. Altoona would rattle off two points on an attack error and a kill to secure the 27-25 win.
Robert Nilsen again had four kills and a service ace for the Wildcats in the set. Zach Goggin had 12 assists on the Wildcats 13 kills. Nick Hagen (Hilton, N.Y.) and James Homan each had three kills in the middle for the Wildcats. Hagen also had two block assists in the set.
Bradley Colditz had five kills in the set for Altoona. Justin Bannister had a kill, a service ace, and two digs.
The fourth and final set saw a match high six ties and three lead changes between the two teams. The Wildcats hit just .061 in the set but managed to stay in the game right to the end. A late 4-1 run by Altoona was the difference maker, giving the Nittany Lions a 23-19 lead late. The Wildcats would fight back to make it a 24-22 match, but an attack error did in the Wildcats, allowing Altoona to advance to the Championship match on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions would go on to win their first NEAC Championship, advancing to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
In the match, Robert Nilsen and James Homan ended up with a team high 10 kills. Nilsen hit .381 in the match, had a match high three service aces, and five digs. Homan hit a team high .467, had a service ace, and a solo block.
Zach Goggin had a match high 44 assists, three kills, two digs, a solo block, and a block assist.
For Altoona, Bradley Colditz had a match high 16 kills on 31 swings. Wally Rivera-Berrios had a match high 17 digs and three assists. Daniel Downs and Brandon Arentz had nine kill each in the match. Downs hit .389 on 18 swings. Arentzhit .316 on 19 swings.
The Wildcats 2017 season comes to an end after the hard -fought post-season loss. When asked about the season, Head Coach Dan Liberto said "I thought that our guys did a great job dealing with the adversity that was thrown at them this season. Our fight at the end showed a great deal of heart and dedication to this program. I was really happy to see our upperclassmen step it up and lead this team when we needed it most. I am very proud of our guys."
The Wildcats finished 2017 with a 16-17 overall record and an 11-5 record in the NEAC. The Wildcats will be losing two seniors this season, but will be returning a large core of freshman and sophomores with experience under their belt. The future looks bright for Wildcat Volleyball.