For the first time in men's volleyball history at Wells College, two nationally-ranked top-10 teams faced one another at the Schwartz Athletic Center on Saturday, March 7.
The No. 10 Wells College Express faced the No. 6 Vassar College Brewers with nothing but bragging rights on the line and an opportunity to move up in the polls.
Despite entering the contest with more wins and fewer losses than Vassar, Wells found itself four spots below the Brewers after Vassar first entered the American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll at No. 9 on Jan. 28. At that time, the Express were ahead of them in the national poll but when Vassar beat the then-No. 1 team, their stock rose quickly.
The first four sets of the five-set match were almost identical with neither team able to build momentum with consecutive set wins. Vassar took the first and third sets by identical 25-20 scores, while the Express took sets two and four by identical 25-21 scores.
It all came down to a fifth and deciding set. The Express never trailed by more than a pair of points with the set tied on eight separate occasions with the last time with both teams at a dozen points. Vassar would take three of the final four points to take the fifth set at 15-13.
Robert Patzer had a team-leading 18 kills and team-leading 18 digs for the Express. The two sets Wells took were also the only two where their attacking percentage was above 30 percent. Kevin Batmunkh recorded a dozen digs, while Cooper Colesante finished with a pair of solo blocks. Both Patzer and Caden O'Loughlin served up a pair of aces in one of the closest matches of the season.
Up next is another ranked opponent as Wells travels to No. 12 Lancaster Bible for a NEAC showdown on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m.