Recently named T&T Volleyball Federation “Senior Sportsman of the Year”, Daynte Stewart served off his season in ominous form by leading Indiana Technical to a perfect 2-0 start to their volleyball season.
Playing two matches on Thursday, the Indiana Technical “Warriors” first battled past Central State University in five sets (3-2) at Wilberforce Ohio, before sweeping Wittenberg University a few hours later at Springfield, Ohio.
In the season, opener, Stewart had a match-high 21 kills to go with five blocks, two assists and nine digs as the “Warriors” rallied past Central State 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-10.
Mason Milan was the other player in double-digit kills for Indiana Tech with ten while he also had two aces and blocks each, as well as seven digs while Chase Christiansen added four kills, Raekwon Rogers six blocks and setter Jones 31 assists and one ace in the win.
For Central State, Jayden Rookhuyzen had a team-high 16 kills to lead a trio of scorers with Yaron Afek and Cameron Lee adding 14, and ten respectively in the loss.
Overall, it was the defensive effort of Indiana Tech which was key to their victory as they held a 14-11 edge on blocks to compensate for being outscored on kills, 45-49 and aces, 5-7.
Five hours later in their second outing, Stewart tallied six kills, Mason got eight and Chase four as the “Warriors” swept past Wittenberg 25-16, 25-16, 25-14 at the Pam Evans Smith Arena.
Russ Burke led all scorers with ten kills for Wittenberg while Dominic Melchiorre got seven and Chris Goertz, four.
Yet again, it was another well-balanced and dominant display from Indiana Tech as they outscored Wittenberg, 28-23 on kills, and 8-2 on aces, while Wittenberg held a narrow 4-3 edge on blocks.
Stewart and Indiana Tech will return to competition on January 13 when they head to Trine University for the start of the Crossroads Crossover at Hersey Hall, Indiana before going to Indiana Tech’s Schaefer Centre the next day as the Orange and Black host Wabash College and Calumet College of St. Joseph in their home opener
The Warriors head to Bourbonnais, Illinois on January 18 for the ONU Quad where they will face off with Trinity Christian College and the host Olivet Nazarene University.
Stewart and Indiana Tech, the defending Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) champion open up their title defence on January 22 with a trip to Siena Heights before heading to Goshen four days later.
The team's home conference opener is slated for January 29 against Aquinas College.
Last season, Stewart and Indiana Tech men's volleyball team qualified for the 2021 NAIA National Championship in just the second year of the program after he led the team to its first WHAC title and earned selection to the All American Second Team and WHAC Conference First Team.
It was the first time the Warriors found themselves in the NAIA postseason since the 1970s with a 16-5 record.
He capped off 2021 by being T&T’s top scorer at the 2021 NORCECA Senior Men's Volleyball Continental Championship last August in Mexico, an event that served as the qualifiers to this year’s 2022 FIVB World Championship in Russia.
He also represented T&T at the Youth Pan American Games Beach Volleyball Qualification Tournament in the Dominican Republic last June.