CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Mount St. Joseph University men's volleyball team returned to the Harrington Center on Saturday for the second weekend in a row. And for the second weekend in a row the Lions put together a perfect weekend. This weekend they welcomed the Royals of Eastern Mennonite University and the Mavericks of Medialle College to Cincinnati. In the first match against EMU the Lions secured a dominant straight sets victory, and then in match two they were pushed to four sets to get the victory against Medaille. With the sweep they moved to 5-2 in coach Jake Neiheisel's first season.
MATCH ONE - MSJ 3 - Eastern Mennonite 0
In match one of the day the Lions squared off with the Royals of Eastern Mennonite. They were dominant in the match, securing the straight set victory (25-10, 25-22, 25-12). They opened the match by destroying EMU in set one, mostly from the service line. The Lions consistently served the Royals out of system throughout the first set, and also secured three first set aces.
In set two, EMU battled back as the Lions lost focus just a bit. The Lions led for most of the set, but the Royals battled back to tie the set score at 19. The Lions though outscored the Royals 6-3 the rest of the way to secure set two.
By the time set three rolled around the Lions looked to secure their third consecutive straight set victory. The early portion of the set was tight, and the score was tied at 7 a piece. Then a strong service run by middle blocker Nathan Schatzman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) put the Lions ahead to stay. Schatzman headed to the Line with the Lions ahead 8-7 and by the time he left it they led 14-7.
As a team the Lions hit an outstanding .323, registering 33 kills in the match. They consistently put ball away against the overmatched Royals. Jason Hascher (Miamisburg, Ohio/Alter) continued his torrid pace to the opening part of the season with a match-high 11 kills and a .389 hitting percentage. Hayden Wood (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) and Jack Spohn (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) combined for 12 kills on 18 attempts (each had 6 kills on 9 attempts) without a single error.
MATCH TWO - MSJ 3 - Medaille 1
In match two the Lions took on the Mavericks of Medaille, and secured their fourth victory in a row. Medaille had taken down EMU 3-0 in the prior match, setting up what seemed to be a much stiffer test for the Lions. They were up to the challenge, especially their leader Hascher. Who put together what might have been his finest performance in a Lions uniform up to this point. He led the way with a career-high 20 kills and an unbeleivable .457 hitting percentage on 35 attempts. He was responsible for nearly half of the Lions 57 earned points with 23.
Setter/outside hitter Rey Sanchez (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley) also put together a monster game, with a career-high 16 digs go along with a season-high 24 assists. "Without a doubt Rey is going to register a triple-double at some point this season" Said Coach Neiheisel.
Spohn also again had a big match for the Lions, with six kills on 12 attempts without a single error which was good for a .500 hitting percentage. The team was also outstanding in defense at the net in the match registering 14 block assists and seven solo blocks. Six different Lions registered blocks in the match with the middles Spohn and Schatzman combining for 8 total blocks.
"I feel like we played pretty well today, if we can get efforts like we got out of guys like Hayden Wood especially in the first match. We should be extremely tough to beat this season" Said Coach Neiheisel.
The Lions (5-2, 0-0 MCVL) will hit the road next weekend, heading to Penn State-Behrend. On Saturday the Lions will square off with St. Vincent (Pa.) and the host Penn St.-Behrend squad. The action is scheduled to get underway at 1:00 PM. Tune into MSJsports.com for all of your Lions men's volleyball coverage for the 2020 season.