Wentworth Men's Volleyball to Host Lasell in GNAC Championship Saturday Afternoon


Top-seeded Wentworth Institute of Technology and second-seeded Lasell College both earned semifinal victories on Thursday evening in the 2017 GNAC Men's Volleyball Tournament. Wentworth handled fourth-seeded Johnson & Wales University, 3-0, while Lasell took down third-seeded Rivier University, 3-1.

Wentworth will now get set to host Lasell in the GNAC title match on Saturday afternoon (3:00 PM) at Nelson Recreation Center's Tansey Gymnasium in Boston, Mass., with the winner earning the GNAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Leopards will be seeking their second straight and second-ever GNAC title, while the Lasers last won the league championship in 2015. 

Entering Saturday's championship contest, Wentworth and Lasell are ranked second and third, respectively, behind only national power Springfield, in the D3 East Region rankings, while Rivier ranks fifth.

In the AVCA national rankings, Wentworth is ranked No. 5 in the country, while Lasell checks in at 11th. The two programs split head-to-head in the GNAC regular season, with Lasell winning in five sets at home back on March 23 before Wentworth earned a four-set victory over the Lasers on April 1. 

#1 WENTWORTH 3, #4 JWU 0
BOSTON, Mass. – Senior Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) recorded 15 kills and hit .367 to help pace the Wentworth Institute of technology men's volleyball team a 3-0 victory over Johnson & Wales in the semifinal round of the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament Thursday night in Tansey Gymnasium.

With the win the top-seeded Leopards (26-6) advance to their second straight GNAC championship match and will host second-seeded Lasell (29-5) on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The Lasers punched their ticket to the title match with a 3-1 win over third-seeded Rivier. The Wildcats end their season with a 20-15 record.

Reed had six kills in the opening set while hitting .556 and junior Ollie Oshman (Pennington, N.J.) was a perfect 4-0-4 as the Leopards took a 25-16 win. After junior Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) tied the set at 4-all with a kill, Wentworth rolled off five straight points and took a 9-4 lead on a kill from Oshman. A junior Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) kill made it 15-9, however Johnson & Wales would pull within four twice, including after a setting error made it 17-13. Wentworth closed out the set on an 8-3 run and senior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.) ended the set with a kill. Wentworth hit a match-high .355 in the set.

The second set featured seven ties and a lead change as the Wildcats opened the frame by taking a 7-4 run after a kill from senor Kyle MacKnight (East Northport, N.Y.). Wentworth scored the next four points, which included a pair of aces from Mullen, and took an 8-7 lead. The teams went back and forth until the leopards took the lead for good at 15-14 on a Mullen kill and extended the lead to 16-14 on a kill from junior Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.). An attack error gave Wentworth a 20-17 lead and freshman Zach Turner (Coventry, R.I.) brought the visitors within a pair with a kill. However, that would as close as the Wildcats would come as Wentworth scored five of the last six points to take a 2-0 lead with a 25-19 win.

Reed helped the Leopards complete the sweep with six kills in the third set as the Leopards battled back from an early deficit to take a 10-7 lead after Roat served an ace. A Reed kill extended the lead to 16-11 before the Wildcats scored the next three points and pulled within two (16-14) when Chang and sophomore Matt LaVasseur (Salem, N.H.) combined for a block. A Roat kill made it 17-14, however Johnson & Wales got back within two after a service error. Reed had a kill and an ace which put the hosts ahead 19-15 and, after the Wildcats mounted a comeback to pull within three at 22-19, two kills from Mullen sandwiched around one from Oshman ended the match. The Leopards hit .343 as a team in the set

In addition to Reed's 15 kills, Mullen had 10 kills, three aces, and three digs. Oshman hit .727 as he recorded nine kills on 11 swings while only committing one error and Potts had six kills on eight swings with just one error (.625). Roat had five kills and six digs, junior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) had 38 assists and a dozen digs, and senior Mike Rogachefsky (Rochester, N.Y.) had 17 digs. As a team the Leopards hit .313 for the match.

MacKnight led Johnson & Wales with eight kills and two blocks while MacKnight had six kills.

Courtesy of Wentworth Athletics Communications.

#2 LASELL 3, #3 RIVIER 1
NEWTON, Mass. -- The second-seeded Lasell College men's volleyball team bounced back from a first-set loss and won three straight Thursday night in the Athletic Center, advancing to its second Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title game in three seasons with a 3-1 victory over the third-seeded Raiders of Rivier University. 

Lasell, ranked No. 11 nationally by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, improves to 29-5 on the season with its sixth straight victory, while Rivier finishes its season at 20-13. 

Senior Tristan Davis (pictured, Rochester, N.Y.) was one of three Lasers with double-digit kills with a match-high 19, while classmate Jeffrey Vautrin (Chicopee, Mass.) posted 12 to go along with 11 digs and Saunoa Afoa (Las Vegas, Nev.) added 10. Sophomore Andy Henriquez (Lawrence, Mass.) handed out 43 of Lasell's 54 assists as another sophomore, Jordan Aprea (Newington, Conn.) hit the floor for 12 digs to lead the defensive effort. 

Senior Ian Wolski (Westfield, Mass.) paced the Raiders with 14 kills, sophomore Grant Andler (Chicago, Ill.) chipped in with 10, and senior Tyler Blank (Rochester, N.Y.) posted all but two of Rivier's 39 assists. Junior Garrett Bucklin (Jamestown, R.I.) led Rivier with 11 digs. 

The visitors never trailed in the first set, scoring scored the first three points en route to a 25-16 victory. Vautrin recorded four of Lasell's nine kills in the game, leading an offense that committed nine errors, helping Rivier to an opening victory. The Lasers moved within five points twice during the middle stages of the game, but Rivier scored four of the last five points. 

While Rivier was quick out of the gates in the first, Lasell staged a 7-3 run to begin the second with freshman Janci Soto (Lawrence, Mass.) recording back-to-back kills. The Raiders tied the game halfway through as 12-12, but the Lasers scored five of the final seven points to draw the match even at a game apiece. 

Lasell's offense was balanced in the second set as three players recorded four kills, including Vautrin who posted two of the team's final six points. Davis finished the match-evening contest with one of four service aces. 

The Lasers were 25-15 winners in the third set, posting its 14 kills with just two errors. Davis posted six of them, including two on Lasell's final four points. Lasell scored five straight points with the game tied 7-7 to take the lead and then took control of the match with seven of the last ten points. 

The closest game of the night was the fourth as Lasell won 25-21, using an 8-1 spurt in the middle stages and kills on 19 of its 25 points to take the victory. Lasell scored five straight points on that run, with Henriquez downing one of his three kills on the night to increase its lead to 15-7. 

Davis posted seven kills in the final set, four of which came on the Lasers' first 12 points, while classmate Patrick MacDonald (Floral Park, N.Y.) finished the night with five of his nine kills in the set. MacDonald helped the Lasers surge ahead late, taking passes from Henriquez and Soto for the final two kills of the game. 

Courtesy of Lasell Athletics Communications.

Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 12 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 17 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.