Photo Courtesy of Matt Jones
BANNER ELK, N.C. – In its first home match in a month, the Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team battled but ultimately fell to Lincoln Memorial University in four sets (25-16, 20-25, 25-17, 25-18) at Williams Gymnasium on Saturday.
Set 1 – The first set of Saturday's match was all Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters hit a match-high .522 on 23 attacks in the opening stanza. With the LMU offense clicking so well, the Bobcat offense struggled to keep up as they hit .000 in 18 attacks in the frame. The disparity in offensive production led Lincoln Memorial to a convincing 25-16 win in the first set.
Set 2 – After not doing much in the first set, the Bobcats rebounded in a major way in the second. Powered by the play of Drew Sims and Jeffrey Olson, Lees-McRae hit .320 with 11 kills in 25 attacks. Sims totaled four kills with one error on six attacks (.500 hitting percentage), while Olson added four kills on six swings (.667 hitting percentage) as well in the second. With the Bobcat offense back on track, they went on to upend the Railsplitters by a score of 25-20.
Set 3 – With both teams having won a set, the third frame was a highly contested one as both squads tried to seize the momentum. After a kill by Olson made it 14-13 LMU, the Railsplitters took a timeout to regroup. The timeout called by the Lincoln Memorial bench paid off as it promptly went on 4-0 run out of the timeout to open an 18-13 lead on Lees-McRae. LMU would take that advantage and grow it to a 25-17 victory in the third frame.
Set 4 – In what proved to be the final set of the contest on Saturday, neither team attacked at a very high percentage. With neither squad attacking well, points were at a premium especially after the score was knotted at 15 midway through the frame. Much like they did in the third, the Railsplitters went on a run to gain the advantage and pull away from the Bobcats. This time it was a 6-0 run to turn the 15-15 tie into a 21-15 lead for LMU proved to be the difference. That large of a deficit proved too large for the Bobcats to overcome as they dropped the fourth frame, 25-18.
Stat standouts – Offensively, the Bobcats were paced by the duo of Sims and Olson. Sims had a team-high nine kills, which marks the fifth time this season that he has posted nine or more kills in a match. Olson, meanwhile, posted his best performance of his collegiate career totaling six kills on 10 attacks with just one error for a hitting percentage of .500. Defensively, the Bobcats were paced by a 10-dig outing from Chris Woolslayer.
Next up – The Bobcats will be back in action next Thursday with a trip to Alderson Broaddus. First serve between the Bobcats and Battlers is set for 7 p.m.