Pin-hitter duo sparks St. Thomas Aquinas past Roberts Wesleyan in inaugural ECC match

Photo courtesy of St. Thomas Aquinas athletics

Kyran Versteegen and Gabriel Vieira made sure the inaugural ECC match was memorable.

The two pin-hitters each finished with more than 15 kills and hit more than .400 as St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Roberts Wesleyan 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16 on Saturday in Hillburn, New York.

Vergsteegen led all players with 18 kills on a .441 attack percentage in the opener for the newest NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conference. The freshman from the Netherlands had a game-high eight kills in the third game, including the match-winning kill after Robert Wesleyan fought off five game-points.

Vieira added 17 kills and hit a match-best .467 to help the Spartans earn their third straight home win.


Vieira in the final game did not commit an attack error and had a game-high six kills. The Brazilian also had kills on three consecutive plays early in the game to give St. Thomas Aquinas a four-point lead that it would not relinquish.

St. Thomas Aquinas had more than a .400 attack percentage in each of the final two games and out-hit Robert Wesleyan for the match .384 to .207.

Along with running the offense, setter Joaquin La Jara had a match-high 11 digs against Robert Wesleyan.

Paul Fillion in the loss led Robert Wesleyan with 12 kills.

The ECC announced last year that it would start sponsoring men’s volleyball. Three schools in the NCAA Division II conference – St. Thomas Aquinas, Roberts Wesleyan and Dominican – added the sport and are playing in their inaugural season.

The ECC currently does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Conferences adding a new sport typically have to wait two years before becoming eligible to apply for an automatic bid.