Men's Volleyball Suffers First Conference Loss - 15-Match Winning Streak Snapped

Men's Volleyball Suffers First Conference Loss - 15-Match Winning Streak Snapped

Mount Olive came back from a one-set deficit, but the Trojans suffered their first conference loss of the season and had their school record 15-match winning streak come to an end, falling to Pfeiffer 25-20, 19-25, 25-18, 25-16 in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. The loss was the Trojans' first this season against a non-Division I opponent. Alex Rivero led Mount Olive with 14 kills, but the Trojans were unable to overcome 14 blocks by Pfeiffer.

Mount Olive (21-4 overall, 14-1 Conference Carolinas) dropped the first set and trailed 7-4 in the second set before back-to-back aces by Ben Casado highlighted a 7-1 run to put the Trojans ahead 11-8. Mount Olive appeared to have won consecutive points when serves by Angel Dache resulted in kills by Rivero off of overpasses. But both points were waved off, the first by an inadvertent buzzer and the second by a premature whistle after a Pfeiffer dig. Rivero's kill broke a 15-15 tie and Dache recorded two kills in a set-ending 4-0 run to even the match at a set apiece.

Casado's third ace of the match gave Mount Olive an 8-5 lead in the third set, but Pfeiffer (14-6, 12-3) rode Fabio Diniz's service run to nine unanswered points and the Falcons controlled the remainder of the match. Caleb Brophy served back-to-back aces and added a pair of kills to give Pfeiffer its biggest lead at 24-15. Two straight aces helped Mount Olive save three set points before Pfeiffer closed out the set.

Tim Ebbecke sparked Mount Olive early in the fourth set with a pair of kills and a block with Dache and Casado as the Trojans took a 5-4 lead. Pfeiffer used a three-point run to break away from a 6-6 tie and the Falcons led the rest of the way. A block by Diniz and Micah Bortner gave Pfeiffer a 20-11 lead and Mount Olive never got any closer than six points.

The Mount Olive men's volleyball team came up short of becoming only the second Trojan team to go undefeated in conference play during the regular season. The Trojan men's tennis team posted a 10-0 conference record in 2005.

Dache, Ebbecke and Lewis Einarson added eight kills apiece for Mount Olive. Ebbecke had no errors in nine attack attempts and shared team-high honors with three blocks. Dache served a match-high six aces, while Casado had three aces, three blocks and 39 assists.

Brophy led Pfeiffer with a match-high 20 kills and only four errors in 34 attempts. Brophy also served four aces. Diniz led all players with seven blocks, while Eric Edelman had six blocks and Bortner and setter David Specian added five blocks apiece. Specian recorded 45 assists for the Falcons.

Mount Olive travels to Columbus, Ohio, Friday as the Trojans take on nationally 11th-ranked Ohio State. Mount Olive is hoping for a strong rooting section as the families of Miracle and student-assistant coach Devon Lucal, as well as a number of Trojan men's volleyball alums, are from Ohio. In addition, MOC women's volleyball alum and 2008 NCAA Woman of the Year finalist Samantha Mitchell is a graduate student at The Ohio State University. Match time is 7 p.m.