University of Mount Olive saved five consecutive match points, but Pfeiffer University held serve at the end for a 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 20-18 victory over the Trojans in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Peyton Schirman matched a career high with 17 kills for the Trojans, while Alex Palmatier led all players at the net with seven blocks. Saturday's contest was the Trojans' second five-set match in a span of less than 24 hours.
Mount Olive (6-6 overall, 6-4 Conference Carolinas) never led in the fifth set until a Pfeiffer attack error put the Trojans on top 10-9. Pfeiffer service errors kept the Trojans in the lead until the Falcons broke a 12-12 tie on a block by Michael Brewer and Fabio Diniz. After Mount Olive tied the set 13-13 on Robert Poole's kill, Pfeiffer earned its first match point on a kill by Diniz.
Pfeiffer (8-2, 7-1) appeared to have the match won on a service ace after Jonathan Martinez's serve caromed off a Trojan player. But Mount Olive managed to keep the ball in play and Ryan Thomas finished the point with a back row kill to save the first match point. After a Pfeiffer side out, Andrew Sydow's kill saved a second match point and tied the set 15-15.
Pfeiffer went up 16-15, but Schirman's kill saved the third Falcon match point. Pfeiffer gained two more match points on kills by Evan Blair, but both times, a Falcon service error kept Mount Olive in the match. A Trojan attack error put Pfeiffer back on top 19-18 and Diniz and Martinez combined on a block on the Trojan right side to give the Falcons the win.
Mount Olive jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set on four consecutive blocks – three by Palmatier – and the Trojans led the entire set. Mount Olive took its biggest lead at 11-5 after an ace by Poole. Pfeiffer got as close as 21-19 after a kill by Martinez. After a Falcon service error, Palmatier and Poole combined on a block and Poole went on to record a kill on set point.
In the second set, Pfeiffer used three consecutive service aces by Martinez in a 6-1 run to take the lead for good at 11-8. The margin grew to as many as eight points and Brewer's kill evened the match at a set apiece.
Mount Olive never trailed in the third set, but had to withstand a late Pfeiffer rally. An ace by Poole sparked a 5-1 run as the Trojans broke away from a one-point for a 10-5 advantage. An ace by Tyler Yanez and a block and a kill by Palmatier helped the Trojans stretch the lead to 17-9. The Falcons got as close as 23-21, but Pfeiffer's fourth service error in five serves gave Mount Olive set point and the Trojans won the set on a Falcon attack error.
Pfeiffer setter David Specian's second-ball kill broke a 5-5 tie and the Falcons led the remainder of the set. The margin reached eight at 22-14 after Martinez served his fourth ace of the match for the Falcons. Mount Olive got as close as six after a kill by Andrew Sydow, but Pfeiffer scored the final two points to force a fifth set.
Poole added 10 kills for Mount Olive, while Sydow finished with nine kills and only one error for a .444 hitting percentage. Poole and Yanez recorded four blocks apiece as the Trojans finished with 10.0 blocks as a team. Yanez had 42 assists and Josh Donahue recorded 17 digs.
Martinez led four Falcons in double figures with a match-high 23 kills to with four aces. Diniz added 10 kills and a team-high six blocks for the Falcons. Specian recorded 58 assists.
Mount Olive takes to the road next weekend for a pair of Conference Carolinas matches. The Trojans head to North Greenville Friday and go to Emmanuel Saturday. Mount Olive won the first meetings against both teams in January at Kornegay Arena.