Rivier, JWU Advance to 2017 GNAC Men's Volleyball Tournament Semifinals


Third-seeded Rivier University and fourth-seeded Johnson & Wales University both earned 3-0 sweeps on Tuesday night in the first round of the 2017 GNAC Men's Volleyball Tournament, advancing to Thursday's semifinals in the process. Rivier handled No. 6 Emmanuel College and advances to take on second-seeded Lasell College on Thursday (7:00 PM), while JWU took down No. 5 Emerson College and will travel to top-seeded Wentworth Institute of Technology (7:00 PM) in the semis.

#4 JWU 3, #5 EMERSON 0 
PROVIDENCE, RI – A dominating blocking performance by the Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team propelled them to the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament. The Wildcats took down Emerson 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-23) on Tuesday.

Emerson: 13-13
Johnson & Wales: 20-14 

Statistical Leaders:
Kanila Chang (JWU): 11 kills, 6 digs, 3 blocks
Matt LaVasseur (JWU) 8 blocks, 5 kills
Mark Piorkowski (EC): 15 kills, 3 digs

Of Note:  
The win was the Wildcats' 20th of the season and matched the single-season record. The 2015 edition also won 20 games. It's also the first time since 2013 that JWU has advanced to the GNAC semifinals.

The Wildcats took a 10-4 lead in the first set thanks to an Emerson error then another EC miscue opened a 21-11 JWU advantage. Senior Kyle MacKnight (East Northport, NY) ripped off seven points with his serve to put the Wildcats ahead, 17-5, in set two.

The Lions wouldn't go down without a fight as they had a 21-18 lead on a block. Kills by Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) and Zach Turner evened the game at 21-21.  Two Emerson service errors and a kill by Brendan Baker (Providence, RI) ended the match.

The Wildcats set the tone with their blocking as they produced a season-high 14.5 blocks. Matt LaVasseur (Salem, NH) topped all players with eight rejections while Turner and Baker factored into five stuffs. Chang led the team with 11 kills while setter Jason Rhee (Aurora, Colo.) handed out 28 assists and Alex Seda (San Juan, PR) produced 15 digs.

Leading the Lions' offensive attack was Mark Piorkowski with a match-high 15 kills. Win Kittiavatcharapong added six kills while Carl D'Aguiar notched 14 digs.

Courtesy of JWU Athletics Communications. 

NASHUA, N.H. - The Rivier University Men's Volleyball team earned another trip to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Semi-finals with a three set sweep of visiting Emmanuel College in a GNAC Quarterfinal matchup at the Muldoon Gymnasium. Rivier, 20-12 overall on the season, is the overall #3 seed and will travel to #2 Lasell College on Thursday night. Emmanuel wraps up the 2017 campaign with an 8-21 overall record.

The Raiders took home the win by set scores of 25-12, 25-18 and 25-12.

Juniors Grant Andler (Chicago, Ill.) and Matt Heckler (Simi Valley, Calif.) led the way offensively as they combined for 19 of the team's 39 kills in the win. Andler was the leader with 12 kills (.478 hitting percentage) while Heckler recorded a .700 hitting percentage with 8 kills and four total blocks. Senior Ian Wolski (Westfield, Mass.) was right behind Andler with 11 kills. Senior setter Tyler Blank (Rochester, N.Y.) controlled the offense with 37 assists and contributed on the defensive end with four total blocks. Junior libero Garrett Bucklin (Jamestown, R.I.) collected 13 digs for the Raiders.

The Saints were paced by sophomore Erik English's (Simi Valley, Calif.) six kills and nine digs while both freshman John Carroll (Massapequa, N.Y.) and sophomore Alex Silva (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) added four of their own. Freshman setter Seamus McDonagh (Long Beach, N.Y.) totaled 18 assists and sophomore libero Elijah Parks (Long Beach, N.Y.) scooped up six digs in the season ending loss.

This will be the tenth consecutive trip to the GNAC Semi-Finals for the Raiders. Game time is set for 7pm at the Lasell Athletic Center.

Courtesy of Rivier Athletics Communications.