BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The No.15 Lewis University men's volleyball team held off a furious rally to defeat Lees-McRae College in four sets (25-16, 25-20, 24-26, 26-24) in Williams Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
The Flyers (3-0) were paced to victory by the double barreled attack of Ian Karbiener (Orlando, Fla.) and Jay Petty (Downers Grove, Ill.) who paced Lewis with 15 and 12 kills respectively. Karbiener and Petty each hit over .400 to lead the Flyers in the contest.
Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paced the Bobcats (0-1) with 32 assists and a match-high six blocks, including five solo stuffs, while Chad Mercado (Orlando, Fla.) added a match-high 15 kills for Lees-McRae.
The Bobcats opened the contest with a quick 5-2 rally before Karbiener and Ben Muesenfechter (St. Louis, Mo.) cut the advantage to one. The teams then traded side outs with Lees-McRae holding a 12-10 advantage in the opening set following a Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.) kill.
Lewis then pieced together a 9-0 run, highlighted by five service aces from Muesenfechter to push Lewis to a 19-12 lead. Flood ended the run with a kill of his own, kick-starting a quick 4-2 run for the Bobcats that cut the margin to 21-16. Lewis capped the opening set by running off four straight points to take the frame by a score of 25-16.
The Flyers continued the rally to open the second stanza, taking a quick 4-0 lead before Lees-McRae trimmed the margin to 4-2 following a service ace by Ramirez. The Flyers halted the spurt, tallying three quick points to extend the advantage to 7-2 before the Bobcats responded with a 3-0 spurt of their own, cutting the margin to 7-5.
The teams battled back and forth throughout the third set, with the Bobcats taking and maintaining an early lead until Lewis fought back to take a narrow 15-14 advantage. Lees-McRae delivered a quick answer, regaining the lead at 16-15 on a decisive block by Mercado and Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Neither team would hold a lead of more than two points for the remainder of the set, with the Bobcats taking a 24-23 advantage to force a Flyer timeout. The decision proved to be a wise one, as the Flyers evened the score on a Karbiener kill before the Bobcats answered with back-to-back points to close out the 26-24 third-set win and force a fourth frame.
Lewis responded early in the fourth set, taking a 7-3 lead before the Bobcats answered with a 4-0 spurt to even the score at 7-7 on a kill by Flood. The teams would trade blows over much of the remainder of the set, with the Bobcats taking a 24-21 lead on the heels of a 12-8 run to force a Lewis timeout. The Flyers would respond in impressive fashion, tallying five straight points to register a 26-24 victory in the fourth set and take the match by a 3-1 margin.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday, Jan. 21 when the Bobcats travel to Harrisburg, Va. to take on Kean University and Lancaster Bible College at the Hampton Inn & Sleep Inn EMU D-II/D-III Classic. The matches are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively.
Lees-McRae College, a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, USA, is located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina. Being a year-round tourist destination, the area provides the best of a vibrant college community coupled with natural beauty and a rich history. Please see www.lmc.edu for more information.