University of Mount Olive rallied to force a fifth set, but the third-seeded Trojans' season came to an end with a 26-28, 25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 15-12 loss to No. 2 seed Erskine College in the semifinal round of the 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament Tuesday at Misenheimer, N.C. Peyton Schirman and Andrew Sydow led the Trojans with 16 kills apiece, while Mike Mann added a match-high eight blocks.
Mount Olive ends its season with a 15-11 record. The conference tournament "final four" is hosted by Pfeiffer University.
The Trojans won the opening set before dropping the next two sets. Mount Olive used an ace by Schirman and a block by Sydow and Tyler Yanez to jump out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set as the Trojans led the entire set. Erskine got as close as one point, but a block by Mann and Rutledge, along with a pair of kills by Rutledge helped Mount Olive extend its lead to 16-11.
Erskine (21-6) rallied again, but Mount Olive scored five of the final six points to send the match to a fifth set. Mann served an ace on set point.
The fifth set saw 12 ties and five lead changes as the two teams battled to a 12-12 tie. Kian Hollevoet's kill gave Mount Olive its last lead at 9-8. Erskine scored the final three points to seal the win. The Flying Fleet's Mike Michelau recorded four of his match-high 27 kills in the fifth set, including a kill on match point.
Mann and Rutledge added 10 kills apiece to give Mount Olive four players in double figures. Sydow, who had no errors in 24 attempts (.667 hitting percentage), added six blocks as the Trojans finished with 15.0 blocks as a team, UMO's third-highest blocks total of the season. Yanez recorded 49 assists and Josh Donahue had 12 digs.
The loss marked only the second time in the six-year history of the Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament that the Trojans did not advance to the championship match. Tuesday's semifinal was a rematch of last year's title match.