University of Mount Olive won the opening set and came within four points of forcing a fifth set before falling to nationally ninth-ranked Lewis University 18-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-21 in non-conference men's volleyball Friday at Romeoville, Ill., outside of Chicago. Angel Dache led all players with 21 kills, while Steven Cruse and Lewis Einarson added 10 kills apiece.
The match was a homecoming for Trojan head men's volleyball coach David Heller, who is a Lewis alum and played on the Flyers' men's volleyball team.
A pair of kills by Dache and kills by Einarson and Garrett Dimm helped Mount Olive (1-1) take a 7-5 lead in the fourth set. Lewis (3-2) rallied to tie the set and James Hoffmann's kill gave the Flyers their first lead of the set at 10-9. The margin grew to as many as four points, but Alex Palmatier contributed to a pair of double blocks during a 6-2 run and the Trojans tied the set at 18-18.
After a Lewis timeout, the Flyers scored the next two points on Eric Fitterer's kill and a Trojan attack error. Dache's kill pulled Mount Olive within 20-19, but Lewis scored the next three points. Dache added another kill and after a Flyer side out, Einarson's kill saved a match point and drew the Trojans within 24-21. But Lewis sealed the win on a Mount Olive service error.
In the opening set, Mount Olive scored the first two points and never trailed. Dimm helped Mount Olive break away from a one-point lead, recording a block, a kill and an ace during an 8-3 run to extend the Trojans' lead to 19-13. Dache also scored three points during the run with three kills.
A double block by Palmatier and Tyler Yanez gave Mount Olive a 21-14 lead before Lewis came back with three unanswered points, capped by Greg Petty's ace. But that's as close as the Flyers would get as Cruse's kill triggered a three-point Trojan run. After a Lewis side out, Dache's kill on set point gave Mount Olive the first set.
The second set belonged to Lewis as the Flyers scored four of the first five points and Mount Olive was never able to come back. Lewis took its first double-digit lead at 20-10 and Eric Fitterer's kill highlighted a 3-0 run to end the and even the match at a set apiece.
Palmatier's kill gave Mount Olive a 9-7 lead in the third set before Lewis used a four-point run to go on top. The Flyers built the lead to as many as six points, but a pair of kills by Lewis Einarson, along with kills by Dache and Cruse, pulled the Trojans within 18-16. The two teams then split 10 consecutive side outs as Mount Olive trailed 23-21 after a kill by Dache.
After a Lewis side out on a kill by Petty gave the Flyers set point, a service error kept Mount Olive in the set. But a Trojan service error gave Lewis the third set.
Mount Olive compiled a .388 hitting percentage over the final two sets and finished with seven team blocks. But the Trojans hurt themselves with 22 service errors and only one ace. Defensively, the Trojans allowed only three Lewis service aces.
Dimm finished with nine kills in his first match for Mount Olive as he, Cruse, Dache and Einarson combined for 50 of the Trojans' 51 kills. Cruse (.389), Dache (.385) and Einarson (.350) all hit .350 or higher. Yanez recorded 46 assists in his second match as a Trojan, while Palmatier led Mount Olive at the net with a match-high seven blocks. Cruse and Josh Donahue recorded seven digs apiece.
Geoff Powell led Lewis with 16 kills, while Petty added 12 kills. BJ Boldog recorded 37 assists and Lucas Yanez led all players with 10 digs.
Trojan setter Tyler Yanez and Lewis' Lucas Yanez are twins. Both are juniors and transferred from Pierce College in California.
Mount Olive concludes its trip to the Windy City with its second match in as many nights against a national top 10 team as the Trojans take on No. 2 Loyola (Chicago). Match time is 5 p.m.