Pride's Season Comes to a Close in NECC Semifinals

Pride's Season Comes to a Close in NECC Semifinals

WESTON, Mass. - The season is over for the Regis (Mass.) men's volleyball team after the second-seeded Pride fell to third-seeded Elms in four sets in the New England Collegiate Conference Semifinals at Higgins Court on Thursday night. The Pride took set one 25-16 before the Blazers won sets two, three and four 27-25, 25-23 and 25-18.

With the loss, the Pride ends its season with a final record of 15-14. The Blazers move to 18-9 on the season, and will advance to play Endicott in Saturday's NECC Championship.

Thursday's match was tight in the opening set until three consecutive Elms attack errors capped a 6-0 run that gave the Pride an 18-11 lead, a deficit from which the Blazers could not recover. A pair of late kills from Regis junior Marcos Aguirre (Norwalk, Calif.) and helped keep Elms from crawling back, before a Blazer attack error clinched the 25-16 first set win for the Pride. 

The second set appeared to be going towards the Pride, as the home team led 17-13 just past the halfway point of the set, but the Blazers refused to go down quietly. A kill from Blazer Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) capped a 7-1 Elms runs that suddenly flipped the tables and gave Elms a 20-18 lead. The Pride would fight back to take 25-24 lead and had set point, but the Blazers would score three straight points to close out the set and even the match.

The Pride looked primed to take the lead back in the third set, but again Elms came from behind to take control of the match. In the drivers' seat with a 16-9 lead, the Pride saw Elms rattle off seven consecutive points with senior Austin DeCosmo at the service line to tie the match at 16-16. The Pride was visibly stunned, and despite keeping it close down the stretch in set three, Bondarovsky came through for Elms by recording three consecutive kills to close out the set and put his team up for good.

The Pride scored the fourth set's first three points, but Elms took the match over from there. The Blazers scored eight of the match's next nine points and 12 of the next 14 to take a 12-5 lead and suck all the life out of a stunned Higgins Court crowd. The Pride made a small 4-1 run late, but it proved to be too little too late, as an attack error from the Pride ended the team's season.

Bondarofsky finished the night with a match-high 19 kills to lead the Blazers to the upset victory. Teammate and fellow countryman Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) followed Bondarovsky with 12 kills of his own. The Pride's Sean Bisnett (Oxnard, Calif.) had a strong night offensively in what was the senior's final collegiate match, leading his team with 18 kills. Bisnett's finishes the season with a new program record with 321 kills, beating is own record of 273 from his freshman season. Brett Krahl (Santa Clarita, Calif.) finished the evening with 12 kills for the Pride, while Aguirre tallied 10 in the losing effort.