Trojans Outlast Belmont Abbey In Five Sets On Senior Day

Trojans Outlast Belmont Abbey In Five Sets On Senior Day

University of Mount Olive senior Victor Fraga Leal celebrated Senior Day by scoring the final two points of the match, including an ace on match point, as the Trojans withstood a frantic comeback for a 25-23, 25-18, 17-25, 14-25, 19-17 victory over Belmont Abbey College in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Leal recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs for the Trojans.

After the match, Leal, Quaid Marin and Tyler Yanez were honored during Senior Day ceremonies.

Mount Olive (11-9 overall, 9-6 Conference Carolinas) saw a two-set lead disappear and trailed 14-13 in the deciding fifth set, putting the Trojans one point away from losing the match. Peyton Schirman's kills saved one match point and after a Belmont Abbey side out, Bret Rutledge saved another match point with a kill. The Trojans earned a pair of match point opportunities of their own, but Belmont Abbey (11-11, 7-7) stayed alive both times on kills by Nolan Albrecht as the Crusaders tied the set 17-17.

Leal broke the tie with a kill, then placed a serve deep in the Belmont Abbey side. The Crusader back row players opted to let the ball go, but Leal's serve landed just inside the back line for an ace and a Trojan victory. Mount Olive recorded a .473 hitting percentage in the fifth set with 14 kills and only three errors in 23 attempts, rebounding from a combined .018 hitting percentage in the previous two sets.

Mount Olive built a 17-13 lead in the opening set after a kill by Schirman, but Belmont Abbey rallied to go on top 22-21. Mike Mann's kill tied the set and triggered a 4-1 run to give the Trojans the first set.

In the second set, the Trojans broke away from an 11-11 tie as Tyler Yanez's diving dig kept alive a point that finished with a triple block by Leal, Mann and Marin to give Mount Olive a 17-14 lead. Mann was in on two more blocks as the Trojans extended their lead to 21-16. The margin never fell below four points as the Trojans closed out the set with consecutive kills by Yanez, Schirman and Andrew Sydow for a two-set advantage.

Belmont Abbey broke a 6-6 tie in the third set on a block by Albrecht and Justin Snyder and the Crusaders led the remainder of the set. Back-to-back kills by Albrecht highlighted a 5-0 run to give Belmont Abbey an 18-12 lead and keep the Crusaders in the match. Belmont Abbey was never threatened in the fourth set as aces by Dustin Buell and Derek Sullivan helped stake the Crusaders to a 14-7 lead. The margin reached double figures at 24-14 and a Trojan attack error sent the match to a fifth set.

Schirman led the Trojans with 15 kills, while Sydow added 10 kills. Mann shared game-high honors with six blocks. Marin got the start at setter and finished with 38 assists. Yanez moved from outside hitter to setter midway through the fourth set and added 19 assists. Keaton Marin got the start at libero and shared team-high honors with 13 digs.

Albrecht led all players with 21 kills for Belmont Abbey, while Anthony Pippen added 18 kills. Sullivan finished with 53 assists.

Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans travel to Wilson, N.C., to take on Barton in a Conference Carolinas match-up. The Trojans defeated the Bulldogs in four sets in the two teams' first meeting at Kornegay Arena in February. Match time is 7 p.m.