Third-Seeded Trojans Sweep Belmont Abbey In Men's Volleyball Conference Tournament Opening Round

Third-Seeded Trojans Sweep Belmont Abbey In Men's Volleyball Conference Tournament Opening Round

Peyton Schirman paced a 12-ace service attack with five aces as third-seeded University of Mount Olive defeated No. 6 seed Belmont Abbey College 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 in the opening round of the 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Kian Hollevoet and Mike Mann added three aces apiece.

The win moves Mount Olive (15-10) to the semifinal round the tournament against the winner against No. 2 seed Erskine, which defeated No. 7 seed Barton Saturday in the first round.

In the first set, Hollevoet served two aces during a five-point service run to give Mount Olive a 9-3 lead. The margin grew to as many as eight points before Belmont Abbey (13-14) capitalized on a pair of Trojan errors during a 4-0 run to pull within 16-12.

After a Mount Olive timeout, Tyler Yanez's second ball kill helped the Trojans build the lead to six. Belmont Abbey got as close as 20-16, but Schirman served a pair of aces in a set-ending 5-0 run, including an ace on set point.

Belmont Abbey used blocks on back-to-back points by Derek Sullivan and Dustin Buell to build a 12-9 lead in the second set. The Trojans rallied to tie the set and Hollevoet's kill at 16-15 put Mount Olive ahead to stay. The Trojans won six of the final eight points of the set as Bret Rutledge recorded three kills in the run to give Mount Olive a two-set lead. Mann, who had an ace during the run, set Rutledge on two of his kills.

Mann served back-to-back aces early in the third set to help Mount Olive build an 8-3 advantage. The margin never fell below four points and the lead grew to 15-7 after a kill by Rutledge. Schirman, who served an ace on the opening point of the set, rifled a serve just inside the end line on match point.

Saturday's contest was Mount Olive's first match in eight days since beating Belmont Abbey in four sets in the Trojans' regular season finale. The Trojans needed five sets to defeat the Crusaders in the two teams' first regular season meeting. Yanez said after the match that the extra time and playing the same opponent twice contributed to the win.

"This may have been the most complete match we've played this season," said Yanez, a senior setter from Burbank, Calif. "Having the extra time to prepare against a team we just played was definitely a factor."

After the match, players' parents provided baked treats. Yanez said that was the extent of the team's celebrating.

"We'll be watching video of tonight's (Erskine vs. Barton) match and start preparing for the semifinals," said Yanez. "We're already finished celebrating today's win."

Yanez finished with 35 kills to go with four digs and three kills with no errors in three attempts. Rutledge led all players with 13 kills for Mount Olive, while Schirman added nine kills and only one error in 12 attempts. Josh Donahue had a match-high 15 digs.

Anthony Pippen led Belmont Abbey with 12 kills, while Sullivan and Buell shared match-high honors with four blocks apiece for the Crusaders.

Mount Olive faces Erskine Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Misenheimer, N.C., in the first semifinal. Top-seeded Pfeiffer plays host to the "final four." The Championship Match is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the play-in game of the 2015 NCAA Men's Volleyball Tournament.