January 21, 2012

Lions claw past Bobcats in five-set thriller

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lindenwood University men's volleyball team held off an impassioned rally by Lees-McRae College on Saturday evening in Williams Gymnasium, holding on for a five-set victory after taking the first two frames.

Lindenwood (2-0) posted a .143 hitting percentage on the night, registering 10 blocks and 47 digs as Lees-McRae (1-2) hit at a .194 clip in the contest to go along with 15 blocks and 45 digs.

Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paced the Bobcats with 16 kills and a .306 hitting percentage, while John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) added 12 kills, nine digs, and six blocks. Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) chipped in eight kills, a match-high nine blocks, and a .368 hitting percentage, while Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.) added 10 digs and eight smashes. Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) also posted 11 digs on the night.

Jack Mitchell recorded a match-high 19 kills to go along with six stuffs to lead the way for Lindenwood. Scott Siwicki and Logan Jarus added eight and seven kills, respectively, as Corey Buehler chipped in a match-high 13 digs.

The match proved to be a tightly-contested affair throughout, with neither team holding more than a four-point advantage in the first set. After Lees-McRae evened the tally at 18-18 on a kill by Flood, the Lions answered with a 5-1 spurt to open a 23-19 advantage on a Mitchell smash. The Bobcats responded with a 4-1 run, cutting the margin to 24-23 before Siwicki and Tim Schmidt sealed the first-set win with an emphatic block.

Lindenwood carried the momentum into the second set, taking a 15-7 lead on a block by Mitchell and Siwicki. The Bobcats answered with a 4-0 spurt, closing the gap to 15-11 on a stuff by Jones and Lucas before the Lions stretched the lead to 24-19 on a smash from Mitchell. Lindenwood would then close out the set on a Bobcat service error following back-to-back kills from Ribas.

The Bobcats responded in the third set, taking an early 12-9 advantage following an emphatic kill by Jones. Lindenwood would answer with an 8-4 run, claiming a 17-16 lead on a Jargus kill before the Bobcats countered with a 5-1 spurt of their own, taking a 21-18 advantage on a block by Jones and Lucas before closing out the 25-20 win on a Lion miscue.

The teams would engage in a titanic battle in the fourth set, as Lees-McRae claimed an early 14-11 lead following a pair of Lion miscues to cap a 5-1 spurt. Lindenwood answered with a 12-7 run, taking a 23-21 advantage on a solo black by Michael Adams. The Bobcats would respond with a 7-3 spurt of their own, claiming the set and forcing a decisive fifth frame following a kill from Ribas.

Lindenwood would answer once again in the fifth, opening the frame with a 9-6 run which was capped by a block from Mitchell and Jargus. The Bobcats countered with a 5-2 spurt, evening the tally at 11-11 following a solo stuff by Ribas. Lindenwood then capitalized on a trio of Bobcat miscues down the stretch, closing out the set and the match with a 4-0 spurt to equal the final margin of 15-11.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday, January 28 when the Bobcats travel to Newark, N.J. to take on New Jersey Institute of Technology at 7 p.m.

- LMC -