Rally Comes Up Short - Trojans' Record-Setting Season Ends In Conference Tournament Semifinals

Rally Comes Up Short - Trojans' Record-Setting Season Ends In Conference Tournament Semifinals

Angel Dache recorded a career-high 25 kills and helped spark a Mount Olive rally, but the top-seeded Trojans fell to No. 4 seed Limestone 25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21 in the semifinal round of the 2013 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. The loss ends Mount Olive's record-setting season at 22-6 and denies the Trojans a fourth straight trip to the championship match.

After never leading by more than a point in the first two sets, Mount Olive scored the first three points of the second set and raced off to an 11-2 lead in the third set. The Trojans scored four straight points on back-to-back blocks by Tim Ebbecke and back-to-back aces by Alex Rivero. The Trojans still led by nine when Dache's kill gave Mount Olive an 18-9 lead.

Limestone used aces by Scott Warren and Eric Zaun to close the gap to 19-16. Mount Olive scored the next two points on a Limestone error and Trojan setter Quaid Marin's kill, and the margin never fell below four points. Adam Miracle recorded a kill on set point.

It was Limestone (15-13) with the quick start in the fourth set as the Saints scored the first six points and built an 8-1 lead. Consecutive blocks by Ebbecke highlighted a four-point Trojan run and Dache's kill pulled Mount Olive within 9-8. Limestone built the lead back to four, but two kills by Dache sandwiched between a kill each by Rivero and Ebbecke brought Mount Olive all the way back at 15-15.

Miracle's kill broke a 19-19 tie, but a kill and an ace by Zaun put Limestone ahead to stay. Andrew Miller recorded a kill for the Saints on match point.

Mount Olive scored the first point of the match, but never led again in the opening set. The Trojans cut the margin to a single point after back-to-back kills by Dache pulled Mount Olive within 11-10. Three straight kills by Andrew Miller helped Limestone build its biggest lead of the set at 19-15. The Trojans made another comeback as a pair of kills by Alex Rivero and an ace by Dache drew Mount Olive within 22-21. But Limestone scored the final three points of the set, the last two coming on a solo block by Curtis Van Grinsven and a back row kill by Eric Zaun to give the Saints the first set.

The second set saw nine ties until Limestone setter Andrew Pile's second-ball kill broke a 12-12 tie and put the Saints ahead to stay. Mount Olive was down 23-20 before Lewis Einarson recorded a kill and combined with Dache on a block to cut the margin to one. After a Limestone side out, Dache's kill saved one set point, but a kill by Zaun gave Limestone a two-set lead.

Dache's kills total is the most by a Trojan in the Conference Carolinas Tournament and tied for the third highest single-match total in school history. Dache had only four errors in 46 attempts for a .457 hitting percentage.

Miracle, who holds the school single-match record with 28 kills, posted a double-double Wednesday with 16 kills and 10 digs. Miracle finished his career as the Trojans' all-time kills leader with 958. Senior libero Dan Arnold had a match-high 14 digs and ended his collegiate career with a school record 553 digs.

Rivero finished with 12 kills in his final college match, while Marin recorded career highs of 54 assists and 11 digs for his first collegiate double-double. Ebbecke had a match-high four blocks in his collegiate finale. Fellow senior Giora Sela also played his final college match.

Zaun led Limestone with 15 kills and only one error in 29 attempts for a .483 hitting percentage. Kevin Hart added 13 kills and Miller finished with 12 kills. Pile tallied 43 assists and a team-high eight digs. The Saints will play at No. 2 seed Pfeiffer Saturday in the championship match.

Mount Olive's 22 wins broke the previous school single-season record of 20 wins in 2011. The Trojans won their third Conference Carolinas regular season title in the last four years.