By Thuya Kyaw
Published: March 1st, 2017
After showing it’s dominance to start City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) play on Monday, the Brooklyn College Men’s Volleyball team continued their solid performance of late with a shutout home win against Yeshiva on Wednesday, February 22, beating the Maccabees 3-0.
The Bulldogs came out shaky in the beginning of their matchup at the Brooklyn College West Quad Center, allowing the Maccabees to get on the scoreboard early in the game. The score was close after the first time out was called in the first set, with Yeshiva only trailing by two points. The players received a deserved telling off from head coach Joseph Contello, who was clearly not happy with the way things were going.
Contello’s words worked wonders for the Bulldogs, as his players came back to the court looking much more determined than before. The set ended up finishing 25-16, with sophomore Vaughn Titus going on to have a remarkable performance. Using his 6-foot-4-inch frame, Titus put up five kills and one service ace during the set, while keeping his composure throughout the contest. As the team’s leading scorer on the season, Titus came into the game with an impressive 102.5 points in his 12 games played.
In a comeback attempt by Yeshiva, the Maccabees lined three men up at the front of the net-changing formations from the beginning of the contest. Aggressive play by Yeshiva led to multiple balls going out of bounds, impeding a chance for the road team to make a comeback. The Bulldogs utilized their bench in order to compete down the stretch of the matchup as junior Moaz Ali Choudhary, freshman Ahmed Moawad, and sophomore Seva Tsyupa each had two kills as the Bulldogs cruised on to enjoy a comfortable 25-12 win.
This win impressed the Flatbush Faithful, who came out to support in strong numbers, packing out bleachers. Contello was not in agreement with the fans at the conclusion of the game.
“It wasn’t a positive win for us,” said Coach Contello, who seemed upset despite his team’s victory. “Our team didn’t play up to our expectations. We’ll take everything we can get but we didn’t play up to our abilities.”
Team captain Ian Miranda had a much different view on the contest. “Yeah we messed up in the beginning a little bit,” said Miranda. “But honestly, from where we were a couple years ago, we started from the bottom and now we’re up here.”
Tsyupa, the star of the third set, agreed with Miranda. “We stayed focused. Compared to the previous [struggles] we had at home, we were way more focused,” said Tsyupa.
With the win, the Bulldogs now have an 8-5 overall (2-0 in conference) record—with the five defeats coming only against teams outside of the CUNYAC conference. Contello sees a positive in non-conference play despite his team’s struggles. “Teams we play outside of the conference are stronger teams,” said Contello. “It just makes us a little bit better because we’re playing against [better] teams.”
Miranda agrees with his coach, admitting that playing against those teams have made not only himself, but his whole team better. “I myself have gotten a lot better than when we started. We went away to Detroit for our first two games and that really helped with the team chemistry a lot.” he said. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, not only on the court but off the court as well, and that translates to our abilities and skills.”
The CUNYAC tournament is set to start in April, as the Bulldogs have a legitimate chance to compete for the championship. Contello has lots of confidence in his team and has targeted the semifinals as the minimum goal. “If we play to our expectations and with the way the team can play, I am extremely confident,” he said.
Players and coaches alike have the highest expectations for this year’s season. “I think we can make the final if we step up and play our game.” said Miranda.
Due to the cancellation of Tuesday’s game against Albertus Magnus College, the Bulldogs will have had eight days off before their next contest. The Bulldogs will hit the road to play New Jersey City University on Thursday, March 2, seeking their ninth win of the season.