CHICAGO, Illinois-- The Mount St. Joseph men's volleyball team advances to the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League tournament championship with a win over Carthage.
Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start as the opening set was full of errors for both squads. The Lions though held an early lead, and it looked for a moment as if they would pull away. Then Carthage roared back to tie the set at 17-all, from that point they outscored the Lions 8-4 to win the set 25-21.
The Lions would take set two in convincing fashion, as their defense forced Carthage to play what had to be one of the worst offensive sets they have played all season. Carthage which came into the game as the top offensive team in the MCVL, was forced into 10 attack errors by the Lions stifling defense. The Lions would take set two 25-17 to tie the match at one set apiece.
In set three the Lions looked early as though they had lost their momentum from set two. As Carthage jumped out to a quick lead, and was able to hold onto it for a bit. The Lions finally tied the set up at 12-all on a monster kill by Darrell Swanson (Las Vegas, NV/Arbor View). They then sent senior captain Alex Vohland (West Chester, OH/Lakota West) to the service line, where he would stay for four points. The Lions would not trail for the rest of the set winning 25-21, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set would again be extremely tight in the early going. The set was tied 11-all, when the Lions sent senior Richie Planek (Wheaton, IL/Wheaton Warrenville South) to the service line for the first time in the match. They won the next three points, with two kills coming from Swanson in the run, to seize control of the match. Planek would again goto the service line with the score 21-17, and again he would get three points, getting the Lions to match point. Carthage would not go away quietly though, as they scored five consecutive points to push the score to 24-22. That when as he had done throughout the match Swanson came to the rescue. After a fantastic set by Nathan Herdeman (Cincinnati, OH/Elder), Swanson skyed high above the net and crushed his 14th kill of the evening, to win the match.
This was truly a team win for the Lions as every player on the court had a direct hand in the win. Vohland struggled a bit in the early going hitting a negative percentage for much of the match, but he came alive in set three with five kills in the set. The middles for the Lions Brett Cooper (Cincinnati, OH/LaSalle) and Andrew Chisolm (Cincinnati, OH/Oak Hills) were both huge in the game combining for 17 kills and 10 blocks. Swanson played what has to be his best match in a Lions uniform with a match-high 14 kills, hitting .444 in the process.
The Lions will take on Dominican tomorrow in the MCVL tournament championship. The match is set for a 2:00(CDT) PM start time. In the regular seasont the Lions and Stars exchanged victories, with each time winning as the road team.