JOHNSON, VT - The Northern Vermont University-Johnson Badgers men's volleyball team dropped their first match of the day to Pine Manor by a score of 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.
Johnson was led by Austin Walters (Grantham, MA) and Jesse Streeter (Richmond, VT) with seven kills each in the contest. Senior Nicholas Audet (Morrisville, VT) and freshman Wyatt Moberg (Acton, MA) contributed 16 and 15 digs.
The Badgers started off the set hot offensively, going on an early 11-2 run. The Gators began to find their rhythm offensively, but they were unable to go on a run of their own, losing the set 25-12 and giving the Badgers an early 1-0 advantage.
The second set kicked off with the Gators scoring three straight points. The Badgers answered with yet another run, leading 10-4 midway through the set after early service aces by Audet. The Gators were able to recover, scoring points of their own and eventually took the lead, 16-15. The Gators went on a run and were close to ending the set with a convincing win, but the Badgers were able to get a late set push by scoring five straight points to tie it 23-23. Capitalizing on errors by the Gators and a service ace by sophomore Sheldon Billings (Ossipee, NH), the Badgers were able to run away with a 27-25 set victory and a 2-0 advantage entering the third set.
Both teams were competitive early on, trading points early in the third set. Then the Gators were able to score four straight points due to errors made by the Badgers, taking the lead 10-6. The Badgers still hung around, scoring points of their own, keeping it close and tying the score 20-20. The Gators then scored four straight points, and eventually closed out on the Badgers, winning the set 25-23.
To start the fourth set, the Badgers went on a small run to start it off, leading 6-2. In a set that was back and forth throughout, the Gators went on a run halfway through the match to make the lead 19-14. Johnson fought back and trimmed the deficit to two, but were unable to close the gap, falling 25-19 and forcing a final set to determine the winner of the match.
The final set featured a hot start by the Badgers, leading 8-3. The Gators crawled back into the game, forcing a tie at eight all. Johnson was unable to regain the lead and eventually fell 18-16 in the final set, falling 3-2 to Pine Manor College.