BUENVA VISTA & HARRISONBURG, Virginia – The Mount St. Joseph University Lions traveled to Virginia for a tough three match weekend. On Friday the Lions faced #11 Southern Virginia University and competed in every set but weren't able to come out with a win. In the second day of play the Lions played Eastern Mennonite University and #11 Lancaster Bible College. The Lions were able to defeat EMU in a tough five set match but fell to Lancaster Bible in the second match of the day.
The Lions started the first set strong against the Knights, earning a quick 6-2 lead. Southern Virginia would counter with a run of their own to take the lead. Neither team was able to make much distance and continued to go point for point most of the set. The Knights found a run late in the set and put the Lions away 25-22. The Knights continued their success into the early points of the second set but a five point service run from Darrell Swanson (Las Vegas, NV / Arbor View) gave the Lions the lead. Southern Virginia would go on a run of their own which was again countered by the Lions. Down 24-22, the Lions rallied to tie the score at 24 but Southern Virginia would take set two 26-24. The Lions struggled in the final set and couldn't quite find their groove. After a close start to the set the Knights capitalized on Lions errors to take the set 25-17 and the match 3-0.
In the second match against Eastern Mennonite the Royals got off to a quick lead but Jack Spohn (Columbus, OH / Olentangy) went on a four point service run to tie the score. Neither team was able to take a significant lead and continued to go back and forth. Down 19-24, the Lions earned the next two points on a kill and a block but a service error gave the Royals the first set 25-21. The Lions picked up their play in the second set and took a quick 10-4 lead. Eastern Mennonite would slowly chip away at the lead and eventually tied the score. The Mount took the lead back on a four point service run from Jason Hascher (Miamisburg, OH / Alter) which would lead to a Royal timeout. Ben Holt (Cincinnati, OH / Roger Bacon) caught fire in the final points earning three kills and an ace to finish the set 25-22. The Lions controlled the tempo in the third set and held a lead for most of the set. Swanson led the Lions mid-way through the set with some big kills and an error from the Royals would give the Lions a 25-17 set three victory. The Royals found their energy in the fourth set and took a commanding lead after being tied at nine. The Lions struggled to come back and were defeated by the Royals 25-18. The Lions controlled the fifth set and after taking the lead at 7-6 they didn't look back. The Lions dominated the Royals and won the set 15-8 and the match 3-2.
In the Lions final match of the weekend they took on #11 Lancaster Bible. The Lions were obviously tired from the first match and found themselves down 3-8 early. The deficit would continue to build and the Lions couldn't find their offense, dropping the set 25-12. The Lions went on a five point service run from Hayden Wood (Cincinnati, OH / LaSalle) to start the second set. The Chargers found their way back and took the lead but the Lions stayed within two points. Lancaster Bible didn't miss a beat, and despite a Lions comeback, were able to close out set two 25-21. Both teams brought their all in the final set and went point for point in the early points. Lancaster Bible was able to take a six point lead on a service run but the Lions slowly chipped away at the lead to bring the score to 24-22. The Lions rallied and took the match to extra points but were unable to come out with the win, dropping the set 31-29 and the match 3-0.
Zack Storc (Columbus, OH / Bishop Watterson) led the Lions on offense during the three game weekend, ending with 29 kills. Swanson and Hascher also pitched in 20 and 25 kills, respectively. Nick Melbardis (Indianapolis, IN / Cathedral) defended the court well over the weekend, getting 31 digs.
The Lions (4-10, 0-0) will start Midwest Collegiate Volleyball Conference play this weekend at Carthage College and North Central College. The Lions will take on the Redmen on Friday, March 1st at 7:00PM followed by the Cardinals on Saturday, March 2nd at 1:00PM. Continue to check MSJSports.com for updates on the Lions 2019 season!