NEW YORK -- Stevens Institute took down Baruch in the first round of the NCAA Division III championship in the ARC Center on Saturday. Stevens won in four sets for the second time this season against Baruch.
Stevens (22-9) took its first lead in the opening set at 3-2, but Baruch (27-11) captured momentum up until junior Daniel Smith and sophomore John Eddins combined on a block to put the Ducks back ahead 9-8.
The Bearcats answered with six of the next eight points to build a 14-11 edge and forced Stevens to burn its first timeout. Out of the break, Baruch continued its hot start to the match and increased its lead to 18-12 on three kills and one block.
The Ducks got back to within a four-point difference at 19-15, but Baruch would go on to claim the first set 25-17. Baruch hit .258 in the set, while Stevens swung at a -.069 clip.
In set two, Baruch got off to a 4-0 start which led to an early timeout called by the Ducks. Stevens fought back to a 6-5 deficit, guided by a kill and ace from Eddins. From there, the Ducks tied it up on five different occasions until sophomore Chris Vaughan recorded back-to-back kills to put Stevens ahead for the first time at 16-14.
Freshman Gabe Shankweiler put down a pair of kills to give Stevens its largest lead of the evening at 20-15 as Baruch used its final timeout of the set. The Ducks remained in control of set two and won 25-17. The cross-river rivals flipped in hitting percentage, as Stevens finished with a .276 percentage and Baruch slid down to .071 in set two.
Vaughan notched four kills in the second set, while junior Kevin Aeckerle handed out 11 assists.
Baruch scored the first two points in the third set, but Stevens responded with a pair of blocks from Eddins and Smith, then Smith and Vaughan to go up 3-2. The Ducks stayed ahead up to 4-3, only to watch Baruch notch four consecutive points to take a 7-4 lead. Stevens brought it back to an 8-8 tie after two kills from Vaughan and one from sophomore Alexander Carpenter.
The Bearcats jumped back up to a 13-10 lead, but Stevens ran off seven consecutive points. During the run, Shankweiler had two kills and Smith and Eddins tallied two block assists a piece. Baruch closed to within one point at 19-18, but Stevens went on another 4-0 run to capture the third set 25-21. Aeckerle dished out 13 more assists, while Smith contributed four blocks and three kills.
Smith staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead in set four with a kill and solo block in the early goings. Stevens stayed in control and increased its advantage to 10-4 which caused Baruch to call a timeout. Out of the hiatus, Shankweiler tallied three kills, while Eddins added one and Smith put down a block to build on Stevens' lead 14-6.
Baruch would not go down without a fight, however, as it climbed back to a 16-12 deficit, which made Stevens stop play with a timeout. The Ducks held the cushion up to a 24-22 difference, but on the ensuing serve by Baruch sailed out of bounds to give Stevens the 25-22 win.
Vaughan paced Stevens with 15 kills to go along with seven digs and four blocks. Shankweiler was close behind with 14 kills and locked up a double-double with 11 digs.
Aeckerle tied a match-high with 43 assists with seven digs, while Smith notched eight total blocks and added six kills.
Carpenter chipped in six kills on a .556 hitting percentage and Eddins contributed seven digs, six kills and five blocks.
Junior Dylan Schlosser rounded out the evening for Stevens with 11 digs.
Final statistics were nearly even, as Baruch hit .205 and Stevens hits .200. Both teams had three aces, but the Ducks capitalized on 13 blocks, while Baruch recorded just 7.5.
Stevens moves on to play No. 2 SUNY New Paltz at 5:30 p.m. ET on April 25 at Juniata.