Story Courtesy of NJIT
NEWARK, N.J. - Sophomore Piotr Namiotko and freshman Alvaro Gimeno combined for 32 kills, leading NJIT to a 3-1 victory over visiting Sacred Heart in Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) action Friday night at the Wellness and Events Center.
NJIT (1-1 EIVA, 3-8 overall) rallied back down 1-0, after the Pioneers took at 25-21 victory in the first set. The Highlanders answered with a 26-24 win in the second set and cruised to a 25-14 and 25-17 victory in the third and fourth stanza, earning first ASUN Conference victory of the 2018 season.
Highlander duo Namiotko and Gimeno each produced 16 kills as Alvaro combined for a .393 hitting percentage on 28 swings while Namiotko finished with a .389 hitting percentage on 36 attempts and just two errors.
Middle Luca Berger hit .385 with six kills, one error and 13 attempts.
Setter Ricardo Whitaker paced the match with 34 assists while libero Shannon Heckman and Gimeno led the Highlanders defensively with eight digs each.
In front of the net, NJIT held a 14-to-7 advantage in blocks, led by Namiotko, who recorded seven blocks (all assists) followed by Kevin Myren (six assists) and Berger (one solo, four assists).
Whitaker led the match with three service aces, pacing the Highlanders with a 9-to-6 edge in that category.
Sacred Heart (0-4 EIVA, 2-7 overall) was led by Emerson Waumans, the lone Pioneer to reach double-digit kills at 13. Taylor Bloomquist combined for a .538 hitting percentage, notching eight kills.
Noah Ricchetti piled up 27 assists while libero Joshua Ayzenberg paced the match with 10 digs. Bloomquist and Waumans each posted four total blocks (one solo, three assists).
In the opening set, the Highlanders went up early, 6-4. Sacred Heart rallied back and pulled ahead by one, 11-10, after a kill by Bloomquist. NJIT recorded back-to-back kills by Berger, which sparked a 3-0 run, which put the Highlanders ahead 13-11.
Sacred Heart used a 7-1 run to take a 22-18 lead and the visitors closed out the set, scoring the final two points for a 25-21 victory.
The second stanza saw Sacred Heart leading, 15-11, but Highlanders Alvaro highlighted a 5-1 run for the home team, knotting the score at 16-all. After consecutive aces by Shawn Tichler, the Pioneers extended its lead to 23-19.
NJIT rallied for four straight points of its own, as a pair of Piotr Namiotko kills tied the set 23. The Pioneers earned set point at 24-23 on an NJIT error, but the Highlanders won the next three points to take the set 26-24.