Men's Volleyball Comeback Falls Short At Barton

Men's Volleyball Comeback Falls Short At Barton

University of Mount Olive came back twice from one-set deficits and fought off three match points before falling to Barton College 25-19, 18-25, 27-25, 19-25, 18-16 in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Wednesday at Wilson, N.C. Angel Dache recorded 23 kills and a .512 hitting percentage for the Trojans, which had their seven-match conference winning streak snapped.

Wednesday's contest was the regular season finale for Mount Olive (13-11 overall, 10-4 Conference Carolinas). The Trojans had a chance to clinch a top two seed and a first-round bye in next week's conference tournament, but now must wait for the outcomes of Saturday's conference matches.

The fifth set saw seven ties before Mike Mann's solo block capped a 3-0 run to give Mount Olive an 11-8 lead. Barton (11-15, 7-6) pulled within a point, but a block by Mann and Steven Cruse gave the Trojans a 13-11. Mann was a part of three of Mount Olive's four blocks in the fifth set.

Barton scored the next two points to tie the set and Chad Stanback, Jr.'s back row kill gave the Bulldogs their first match point. Garrett Dimm's kill saved one match point and after another Stanback kill, Dache's off-speed kill saved a second match point. A Trojan service error gave Barton its third set point, but Einarson's kill tied the set 16-16 and kept Mount Olive in the match.

The Bulldogs regained the lead on a kill by Zach McCalla and the Trojans were unable to control McCalla's tip on match point. The loss was Mount Olive's first to Barton, which added men's volleyball last year.

Mount Olive trailed 2-1 after three sets, but led from the start in the fourth set. Setter Quaid Marin provided a spark early in the set with the play of the night. Marin fell over a chair on the Trojan sideline while saving an errant pass and Mount Olive eventually won the point on a block by Cruse and Einarson.

The Trojans led by as many as seven points in the set before Barton climbed within 23-19. Dache and Cruse answered with kills on the final two points to force a fifth set.

Dache committed only two errors in 41 attempts to become the sixth player in Trojan men's volleyball history to record at least 20 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in the same match. Cruse added 14 kills and three aces, while Dimm finished with 10 kills. Einarson had a team-high five blocks and Dache tallied 10 digs for a double-double. Marin finished with 48 assists.

Mount Olive finished with a team hitting percentage of .344, including a .444 percentage (nine kills and one error in 18 attempts) in the fourth set. Barton recorded a .277 hitting percentage for the match, but hit at a .333 clip (44 kills, 15 errors, 87 attempts) in the three sets the Bulldogs won.

McCalla led all players with 24 kills for Barton, while Stanback added 17 kills.

Mount Olive is assured of playing its first match of the 2014 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament at home, either next Wednesday in the first round or April 12 in the semifinal round.

The Trojans will get a first-round bye if Barton defeats Pfeiffer Saturday at Wilson. A Pfeiffer win Saturday and Mount Olive hosts a first-round match next Wednesday.