Rivier wins ninth GNAC men’s volleyball title

Photo courtesy of Rivier University The Rivier men's volleyball team celebrated a win earlier this season, but had an even bigger one to celebrate on Saturday night -- thre Raiders' second straight GNAC title and ninth overall.

NASHUA – Champions again.

The Rivier University men’s volleyball team captured it’s ninth Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship Saturday night at the Muldoon Fitness Center, sweeping Wentworth Institute of Technology for the second straight season, 3-0, and will now be gearing up for the NCAA Division III tournament once again.

It wasn’t easy. The Raiders did cruise in the first set, 25-18, but were down in the second, 17-12, before rallying for a 25-20 win.

The 25-7 Raiders’ resolve was challenged in their 28-26 third set win, as Wentworth jumped out to an 8-2 lead. However, Riv rallied and eventually had three match points, but Wentworth fought off each one.

However, an unforced service error gave the Raiders their fourth match point, and junior outside hitter David Smith went for the kill, literally, and his spike to the right side gave the Raiders the victory.

It was Smith’s team-high 12th kill. Senior Kahynen Yocca had 10 and junior Francis Kokoros added nine.

Freshman Jack Normandin had six digs to lead the Raiders, while junior Pedro Campos had a superb 37 assists. Ryan Love had 13 kills to lead Wentworth.

The Raiders, who enjoyed an unbeaten GNAC season (16-0), now will find out on the NCAA men’s volleyball selection show Monday at 10 a.m.at NCAA.com who and where they will play in the first round of the NCAA tourney, which gets underway next Friday.