Trojans Defeat Pfeiffer In Four Sets - Strengthen Hold On Second Place In Conference Standings

Trojans Defeat Pfeiffer In Four Sets - Strengthen Hold On Second Place In Conference Standings

Angel Dache led all players with 18 kills and Steven Cruse added 16 kills as University of Mount Olive defeated Pfeiffer University 31-29, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22 in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. The win keeps the Trojans in second place in the conference standings, a game-and-a-half ahead of Pfeiffer.

Mount Olive (8-9 overall, 7-3 Conference Carolinas) split the first two sets and trailed 7-4 in the third set before Renzo Rossato came off the bench to spark an 11-2 Trojan run. Rossato combined with Mike Mann on a block to tie the set 7-7 and Rossato's kill on the following point put the Trojans ahead to stay.

The Trojans had recorded only two blocks going into the third set, but tallied five blocks during their scoring run. Cruse combined with Lewis Einarson on a block and then connected on a solo block to give Mount Olive a 12-8 lead. After a Pfeiffer side out, Einarson capped the run with three straight points, recording a kill and then teaming with Rossato on a pair of blocks to extend the Trojans' lead to 15-9.

Back-to-back kills by Cruse gave Mount Olive its biggest lead at 23-16 before Pfeiffer (8-10, 5-4) rallied for five unanswered points. The Falcons' scoring run ended on a service error and Cruse's kill gave the Trojans the set.

Mount Olive fell behind 14-11 in the fourth set and never led until a Pfeiffer attack error put the Trojans on top 20-19. The two teams traded side outs until a pair of kills by Dache broke a 21-21 tie and another Falcon attack error gave Mount Olive a 24-21 lead. Pfeiffer saved one match point on a block by Evan Blair and Sonny Hirini, but Mount Olive clinched the win on a Falcon service error.

In the first set, neither team led by more than two points until Pfeiffer built a 21-18 advantage. After a Mount Olive timeout, Pfeiffer committed a service error and Garrett Dimm had an ace during a three-point service run as the Trojans regained the lead 22-21. The Falcons came back to take a 24-23 lead, but the Trojans saved three set points.

Mount Olive saved a fourth set point and Pfeiffer saved a pair of set points as the set was tied 29-29. Dache's kill broke the tie and Dimm's diving dig just in front of the end line set up Dache with another kill to give the Trojans the opening set.

The Trojans took an early three-point lead in the second set, but Pfeiffer broke a 14-14 tie on Hirini's kill and the Falcons led the remainder of the set. Pfeiffer recorded a pair of triple blocks down the stretch to even the match at a set apiece.

Einarson finished with eight kills and no errors in 12 attempts to go with a team-high five blocks. The Trojans finished with 8.5 team blocks. Keaton Marin contributed defensively with 15 digs, while Quaid Marin recorded 52 assists.

Hirini led three Falcons in double figures with 14 kills, while Michael Brewer added 13 kills and Fabio Diniz finished with 12 kills. Blair led all players with six blocks as Pfeiffer compiled 14.0 team blocks. Setter Michael Specian finished with 42 assists.

The top two teams in the final regular season standings earn a first-round bye and play host to a semifinal-round match in the 2014 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament, which takes place in April. Mount Olive has four conference matches remaining.

Mount Olive heads to Hartsville, S.C., Saturday to compete in the Coker College Tournament. The Trojans will face former Conference Carolinas member Coker and future conference member Emmanuel.