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volleyball-men-d3 flag | February 19, 2014

DIII: No. 5 Nazareth wins in four sets against No. 11 Elmira

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Sophomore outside hitters Tim Zyburt and Grant Levermore combined for 32 kills for host Nazareth on Wednesday as the fifth-ranked Golden Flyers defeated No. 11 Elmira in a four-set men's volleyball match at the Kidera Gymnasium. Scores were 25-20, 27-25, 23-25, 25-16.

Nazareth improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the United Volleyball Conference. Elmira dropped to 9-5 overall and 2-3 in the UVC.

Zyburt had a match-best 18 kills on 41 attempts for a .293 hitting percentage to pace the Golden Flyers, while Levermore added 14 kills in 30 swings for a .333 hitting percentage. Junior setter Nick McDonagh amassed 39 assists and five digs and junior middle Luke Lawatsch added eight kills, five service aces and seven blocks.

Zyburt had six of his kills in the first set as Nazareth forged a one-set lead. The Golden Flyers trailed for much of the second set before rallying. Elmira led 8-3 early, then 23-20 later on. An Elmira ball-handling error, a combined block by McDonagh and Lawatsch and a kill by McDonagh squared the set at 23-23.

Nazareth fell behind again at 25-24, but scored the final three points of the set on kills by Levermore and Zyburt and a service ace by Lawatsch.

Elmira turned the tables in the third set. Nazareth had leads of 14-11 and 15-13 before Elmira rallied. The set was tied at 23-23 before Elmira got kills from Erik Griffin and Mike Ellison to close within two sets to one.

The Golden Flyers dominated the fourth set as Levermore produced five kills and Lawatsch and Brody Cord each had two service aces. Nazareth surged to a 19-8 advantage and cruised to the finish.

Griffin led Elmira with 11 kills. Andrew Johnson and Ryan Gelentitis each had 10. Michael Vellatuto had 39 kills. Nazareth hit a collective .298 (52-18-114) for the match and had 13 total blocks.

No. 1 New Paltz State 3, No. 12 Stevens Institute 0

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- In tennis parlance it's called holding serve; volleyball has long fashioned the term earning a "side-out." But no matter how you phrase it, the No. 1 nationally-ranked New Paltz State kept its top-ranking secure with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-18) United Volleyball Conference (UVC) victory against No. 12 Stevens Institute on Wednesday night at the Hawk Center.

The Hawks, who earned the nation's top Division III ranking on Tuesday when the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) received its weekly poll, was particularly strong offensively, hitting .326 for the match, highlighted by a .429 (9-3-14) effort from sophomore middle block Christopher Husmann. Despite the sweep, New Paltz needed its best effort against the Ducks. Stevens used tenacious blocking throughout the match, especially in the second set when the visitors forced New Paltz to erase a 20-15 deficit to earn a 25-22 win.

Not only did the win keep the Hawks clicking on all cylinders, but also avenged a 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 32-30, 15-13) loss against then-No. 6 Stevens in the semifinals of last year's UVC Championship Tournament.

The victory improves New Paltz, which is now riding a nine-match winning streak, to 16-1, 6-0 in the UVC. Stevens drops to 6-4, 4-2 UVC.