Men’s volleyball cruises past York and CCNY to advance to final

Denis Gostev | Baruch Athletics

Denis Gostev | Baruch Athletics

Ethan Yung and Edgar Llivisupa

The No. 2 Baruch College Bearcats swept the opening rounds of the CUNY Athletic Conference by sweeping the No. 7 York College Cardinals and the No. 3 City College Beavers to reach their fifth-consecutive title game.

In the quarterfinal against York (0-17, 0-11 CUNYAC) on April 5, the Bearcats dominated and won, 25-3, 25-5 and 25-6.

In their first CUNYAC playoff match since 2016, the Cardinals failed to gain momentum to challenge the relentless Bearcats hitting at 0.714%, a season high.

Baruch controlled much of the game, including scoring 16-straight points to take the first set.

In the second set, the Cardinals’ David Heyliger Jr. had four kills to put York on the scoreboard. However, their last point came from a service error from CUNYAC First-Team All Star Jack Centeno. Baruch then scored seven-straight points to win the set.

Heyliger Jr. scored the first point in the third set before Baruch widened the deficit and scored 10 points and eventually took the game to advance to the next round.

Baruch’s Defeng Han and Carlos Rodriguez had seven aces each, both year-long highs. Ryan Oommen had the third highest with six aces. The Bearcats finished the game with 27 aces, also a season high.

Andrew Ubanwa and Rodriguez led the team with five kills. Oommen contributed with 12 assists.

Baruch then hosted the semifinal round against City on April 7. The Beavers played in their second semifinal game of the past three seasons after sweeping the No. 6 Lehman College Lightning.

Although Baruch swept City in straight sets, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18, the Beavers fought to win.

The first set was close– the Beavers came back from multiple deficits to prevent the Bearcats from dominating. Towards the end of the first set the Beavers staved off four-straight set points and earned one point from tying the score after a kill by CUNYAC Player of the Year Xhulio Myrtari. But, Baruch’s Haoxin Hu secured the set with a kill with an assist by Stallone Shankar.

While Baruch committed four errors in the second set, the team went on a streak to regain the lead. But City was close as multiple Bearcats continued to commit service and attack errors. The Bearcats won the set after scoring four straight points.

In the last set the Bearcats had their highest scoring percentage of the night, 0.400%, compared to the Beavers’ 0.149%.

Myrtari led the Beavers with 16 kills. Jeffrey Celis had 23 assists, along with eight digs and two kills.

Hu led the Bearcats with 12 kills. Stallone contributed with 30 assists while Han recorded 11 digs.

On the other side of the bracket, the No. 4 John Jay Bloodhounds beat the No. 5 Brooklyn College Bulldogs in the quarterfinal to advance to the semifinal against the No. 1 Hunter College Hawks.

The Hawks prevailed in a close game, 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, to play for their 22nd CUNYAC volleyball title.