BENNINGTON -- Sunday night's men's volleyball rematch between Regis College and Southern Vermont College paired off two teams fighting for playoff position in the New England Collegiate Conference.
The game didn't disappoint, as it went five sets with Regis coming out on top, 3-2.
Southern Vermont won the first game, 25-22, but Regis won the next two (25-22 and 25-20). The Mountaineers dug deep for a 25-23 win in game 4, but Regis finished off SVC with a 15-11 win in game 5.
"Today we were even, but I think we played down to their level," said a visibly disappointed SVC coach Deon Jones. "We beat them 3-1 the last time, so we knew they would be fighting hard and that's what happened."
The Mountaineers took an early lead in game 1, eventually extending their advantage to 18-6 and forcing Regis to take a timeout. With the score 22-12, the Pride went on an 8-0 run with the serving of Zach Sindoni. But a kill from Keven Walley broke the streak and a service error from the Pride gave the win to SVC.
In Game 2, Regis had seven service errors but managed to come out on top. Neither team had a lead of more than three as the teams battled back and forth, but two SVC service errors gave the game to Regis.
Game 3 was more of the same, but with the game tied at 20, Regis scored six straight to end it and give the Pride a 2-1 advantage.
"We have a lot of energy, we're tenacious, they didn't want to give up," said Regis coach Scott Wright.
SVC dug deep in Game 4, trailing for most of the game, as many as four points at 13-9. But the Mountaineers roared back, taking a 22-20 lead after a kill, then finishing off the 25-23 win.
"We don't have a lot of experience, only one senior," Wright said. "We don't know how to close out games yet."
Heading into the fifth game, Jones challenged his team, saying he felt they were playing at Regis and not at home.
"I asked them whose house this was," Jones said. "[Regis was] being much louder, having fun and playing well as a team."
Game 5 was a struggle for the Mountaineers, with only three kills in 27 attacks in the set, compared to 9 out of 29 for the Pride.
"We knew they were going to their outside," Jones said. "They set to the middle once-in-a-while, but we had trouble figuring it out defensively."
Anthony Barahona led the offense for the Mountaineers with 19 kills in a whopping 54 attacks, a .296 hitting percentage and only three errors. Scott Fitzgerald was next with with 13 kills in 29 attacks, while Joey Dighton and Walley each had nine kills.
Anthony Ayala had 46 of the team's 51 assists and Florentino Escovedo had 24 digs, Barahona 11 and Fitzgerald 10.
"We deserved to lose tonight, Regis just wanted it more," Jones said. "We have to do a better job of not showing weakness in crucial moments."
Regis is 11-10 overall and 6-5 in the NECC, good for fourth place, one-half game behind SVC, who is 10-9 and 6-4 in the conference.