The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Sports

April 18, 2012

Defense sends Pfeiffer into title match

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 — MISENHEIMER — Top-seeded Pfeiffer University popped up 42 digs on defense holding a  plus 20 margin to slide past Lees-McRae 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21) in the semifinal round of the 2012 Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball tournament on Sunday afternoon. Mark Hess led with a match-high 11 digs as the Falcons improve to 20-6 and move into Wednesday night’s championship match hosting third-seeded Mount Olive at 7 p.m. in the Merner Gym. The Bobcats end their season at 11-10.

Both teams started the back-and-forth action early in the first set as a kill from Co-Player of the Year Quentin Moore put the Falcons up 8-7 early. Caleb Brophy made it a two-point lead with back-to-back kills moments later until two later hitting errors by the Falcons brought Lees-McRae back into a 15-15 match. A pair of Konstantin Weise put downs sent the Falcons up 18-16 before lightning struck again in the form of two-straight Pfeiffer errors for a 20-all match. Lance Johnson and Jose Ribas traded kills before another Moore kill put the Falcons up for good at 23-22. A Bobcats error and kill by Brophy would end set one 25-23.

In set two, Pfeiffer trailed 15-11 after a seven points in eight-play span for Lees-McRae. Moore would start the comeback for Pfeiffer as the Falcons would eventually knot things up at 17 after a hitting miscue by the Bobcats. Ribas would lead Lees-McRae to a 20-19 lead before Michael McLaughlin and Moore went back-to-back for a 21-20 advantage. Following a Bobcats timeout, Pfeiffer’s hitting miscue at 22-21 squared the match again before Weise and McLaughlin put set two away for the Falcons 25-22.

Trailing set three 10-8, the Bobcats would make their run to avoid a sweep on Sunday thanks to a handful of miscues by the Falcons and a couple of kills by John Lucas for a 16-15 lead. Chris Flood would put the Bobcats up 19-17 before two more Pfeiffer errors and an ace by Flood sealed set three 25-19. Matt Harpenau and Ribas picked up the sets final kills.

Set four began 14-10 in favor of Lees-McRae off of another Harpenau kill before Moore and Weise led the Pfeiffer comeback with two more kills and a 15-15 set. Three-straight Lees-McRae errors and a kill by Brophy quickly put the Falcons up 20-16. A Ribas ace sandwiched in-between the two final Pfeiffer errors made it 23-21 but a final kill from Johnson and ace by David Specian sealed the Falcons ticket into the championship match.

Moore led all attackers with 17 kills in the match while Ribas paced the Bobcats with 12. McLaughlin and Brophy would each conclude at 11 for the Falcons. Johnson led all hitters with a .615 attack percentage with nine kills. Specian led the assists department with 55 while Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) had 36 for the Bobcats.

Pfeiffer will now advance into their first-ever conference tournament championship match Wednesday. The Falcons will host third-seeded Mount Olive. Pfeiffer came back to defeat the Trojans 3-2 on the road in early February before getting a sweep at home in late March. The Falcons will host another Blackout night in the Merner Gym as well.

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