SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Mount St. Joseph men's volleyball team opened their 2020 campaign with a pair of matches Friday night in the Jim Coleman Invitational at Wittenberg. They opened the season with a straight sets win over Lakeland before falling in a five set thriller to the nations seventh ranked team Southern Virginia.
MATCH ONE: MSJ 3 - Lakeland 0
The Mount opened the Jake Neiheisel era with a matchup with Lakeland on Friday. The Lions were dominant in this one, taking the match in straight sets.
The Lions were led in the match by junior Jason Hascher (Miamisburg, Ohio/Alter) who had nine kills on 29 attempts, with only five errors, which was good for a .138 hitting percentage.
Coach Neiheisel has employed an innovative strategy to get two of his best players on the court at the same time. Rey Sanchez (Arvada, Co./Ralston Valley) and Josh Kabel (Centerville, Ohio/Alter) who are both primarily setters, are both spending time as attackers as well. Sanchez and Kabel combined for 13 kills and 21 assists, with Kabel hitting a .231 and Sanchez a team-high .500.
The Lions also had and outstanding defensive effort in the match with 43 digs, Sanchez (13) and Hascher (10) led the way. They also registered 13 blocks with Hascher leading the way with four assists. Both of the middles, Jack Spohn (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) and Nate Schatzman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) had a solo block.
MATCH TWO: #7 Southern Virginia 3 - MSJ 2
In the second match of the evening the Lions squared off with the no. 7 ranked team in the country the Knights of Southern Virginia. The teams went back and forth in winning the first four sets, before the Knights took set five to secure the match.
Each team dominated each set they won, with the lone tight set being the first. The Lions were down 23-19 late in the first set and seemed to be on the verge of dropping set one. The then ripped off five straight points with Breckin Johnston (Northmont, Ohio/Northmont) at the service line, taking a 24-23 lead. The Knights though went on a 3-0 run of their own to secure the 26-24 set one win.
The Lions then dominated set two winning 25-12, before dropping set two 24-17. With the match on the line the Lions fought back to take set four 25-17 to force a decisive set five.
Southern Virginia took the decisive fifth set 15-9 securing the 3-2 win. "Despite the loss our guys played very well against a very good team" Said Coach Neiheisel. He went on to say "We really should have taken that first set, and that would have completely changed the complexion of the match."
Spohn was dominant in the middle for the Lions, with nine kills against just one error. The effort was good enough for a team-high .571 hitting percentage.
The Lions (1-1, 0-0 MCVL) will square off with Lancaster Bible tomorrow at 12:00 PM, in day two of the Jim Coleman Invitational.