Adam Miracle tallied a school record 28 kills as Mount Olive rallied after dropping the first two sets and trailing by seven points in third set for a 22-25, 30-32, 25-22, 25-18, 15-11 victory over Lees-McRae in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. The win was the Trojans' third in a row in conference play.
Mount Olive (7-12, 4-2 Conference Carolinas) took the lead for good in the final set after a block by Jack Tutty and Alex Rivero broke a 4-4 tie. Miracle tied the previous kills record of 26 and notched the record breaker during a 4-1 run that gave the Trojans a 13-8 lead. Lees-McRae (6-6, 3-2) used kills by Jose Ribas and Joshua Jones to score the next three points.
Miracle halted the run and set up match point with his 28th kill and Lukas Hoelzl sealed the win with his 10th kill of the match to put four Trojans in double figures. Rivero added 11 kills and Tutty joined Hoelzl with 10 kills. Tutty and Hoelzl each recorded only two attack errors.
Trojan setter Jackson Metichecchia also made his way into the school record books with 63 assists, which is tied for the fifth-highest single match assists total in school history.
Mount Olive trailed 18-11 in the third set before storming back to stay in the match. Tutty had two kills and a block during a 7-2 run and Tim Ebbecke's block pulled the Trojans within 20-18. Lees-McRae was able to side out, but Miracle had three kills in the next four points as the Trojans outscored the Bobcats 7-1 to send the match to a fourth set.
Lees-McRae built an 11-8 lead in the fourth set as Chris Flood's ace highlighted a 3-0 mini-run. Mount Olive then came back with five unanswered points as Miracle had two kills and Ebbecke added two blocks to put the Trojans ahead to stay. A Trojan service error drew the Bobcats within a point, but a triple block by Hoelzl, Metichecchia and Tutty capped a 6-1 run to extend Mount Olive's lead to 20-14.
The margin never fell below five points the rest of the way and Miracle recorded kills on the final two points of the set to even the match. Mount Olive never trailed in the fifth set and after five consecutive side outs, the Trojans pulled away for the win.
Lees-McRae rallied from early deficits in each of the first two sets. The Bobcats trailed 5-1 in the first set, but Ribas was part of three blocks to help tie the set 8-8. Mount Olive built the lead back to as many as three points before Flood's kill broke an 18-18 tie and put the Bobcats ahead to stay. John Lucas' kill and Jones' block helped Lees-McRae extend its lead to 24-20 on its way to the first-set win.
Metichecchia served aces on the first two points of the second set as Mount Olive jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. Lees-McRae rallied to take a 12-9 lead before the Trojans came back with three unanswered points to tie the set. Neither team led by more than two points the remainder of the set.
Mount Olive erased a 21-19 deficit and Miracle's kill gave the Trojans their first set point at 24-23. Lees-McRae would go on to save six consecutive set points, the last coming on a second-ball kill by Bobcat setter Randy Ramirez to tie the set 29-29. A block by Ramirez and Matt Harpenau gave Lees-McRae its first set point, but Mount Olive caught a break when a Bobcat attacker slipped just as the ball was set, tying the set 30-30.
Lees-McRae got another match point on a kill by Ribas and a Trojan attacking error gave the Bobcats a two-set lead.
Mount Olive was outblocked 9-4 through the first two sets, but finished the match with a 15-11 block advantage. Ebbecke had six of his match-high nine blocks in the final three sets, while Tutty recorded five of his six blocks after the second set. Metichecchia, who served an ace on his first serve of the match, had a match-high three aces to go with 11 digs. Trojan libero Dan Arnold led all back-row players with 12 digs.
The Trojans recorded a team hitting percentage of .400 in each of the final two sets, tallying 26 kills and only six errors in their last 50 attack attempts of the match.
Lucas and Ribas led four Bobcats in double figures with 15 kills apiece. Lucas also had team highs of eight digs and two aces to go with four blocks. Harpenau and Jones each finished with 11 kills and five blocks. Ramirez recorded 51 assists and added six kills in nine attempts.
Along with breaking the MOC single-match kills record, Miracle became the first Trojan to reach the 20-kill match in a conference match. Noel Garcia and Christiaan Rombaut each recorded 19 kills against King April 2, 2010. Rombaut set the previous overall school record March 12, 2010, against Lancaster Bible College (Pa.). Metichecchia came within five kills of tying the school single-match assists record of 68 held by Trojan all-time career assists leader Zach Wilson.
Mount Olive returns to action Monday as the Trojans play host to Division I St. Francis in non-conference men's volleyball. The Trojans battled St. Francis to four sets in the two teams' first meeting this season February 2 at Loretto, Pa. Monday's contest marks the first time St. Francis has come to Mount Olive. The match is also the Trojans' last home contest until April 7. Match time is 7 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.