Trojans Roar Past Lions In Five Sets

Trojans Roar Past Lions In Five Sets

Freshman Bret Rutledge came off the bench to record eight of his 11 kills in the final two sets as University of Mount Olive rallied for a 25-18, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-7 victory over Emmanuel College in Conference Carolinas men's volleyball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Peyton Schirman led the Trojans with 15 kills, while Kian Hollevoet and Andrew Sydow joined Rutledge with 11 kills apiece.

"The coaches said we seemed to be complacent and play as individuals through the first three sets," said Sydow, a sophomore middle hitter from Midlothian, Va. "We played more as a team in the final two sets."

Mount Olive (2-1 overall, 2-0 Conference Carolinas) broke away from a one-point lead in the fourth set as Sydow recorded a kill and a pair of blocks to give the Trojans a 13-9 lead. The margin never fell below three points the rest of the way and Rutledge contributed to a pair of blocks to help extend Mount Olive's lead to 21-16. Schirman had three kills in Mount Olive's final four points as the Trojans forced a fifth set.

The deciding set was all Mount Olive as Rutledge had three kills and a block to help stake the Trojans to a 9-2 lead. The lead grew to as many as nine points and after Emmanuel saved a pair of match points, a service error sealed the win for Mount Olive.

Rutledge had no errors in 11 attempts in the final two sets, including a perfect four kills in four attempts in the fifth set.

In the opening set, Mount Olive spotted Emmanuel the first three points of the match before Schirman's ace highlighted a 4-0 Trojan run. Mike Mann's kill broke a 4-4 tie and the Trojans led the remainder of the set. Back-to-back kills by Schirman and a kill by Hollevoet helped Mount Olive stretch its lead to 20-15. Emmanuel got as close as three points, but Hollevoet recorded kills on the final three points to give the Trojans a one-set lead.

It was Emmanuel's turn to come from behind in the second set as the Lions rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the set 6-6. Peter-Daniel Basson's ace and a pair of kills by Alex Barbosa sparked a 5-0 run to give Emmanuel a 15-12 lead. Kills by Schirman and Sydow helped Mount Olive tie the set 16-16. The two teams exchanged a series of service errors before another kill by Sydow tied the set 23-23. But Emmanuel used kills by Nikolas Nelson on the final two points to tie the match at a set apiece.

Emmanuel used a pair of kills by Steven Peruyero to jump out to a 7-2 lead in the third set and the Lions held on to lead for the entire set. Mount Olive pulled within 20-19 after a kill by Schirman, but kills by Barbosa and Luke Fountain keyed a 3-0 Emmanuel run. A Trojan attack error put the Lions within a set of winning the match.

Saturday's contest marked the second consecutive match between the two teams to go five sets. The Trojans defeated the Lions 3-2 last year at Emmanuel.

Mann led all players with six blocks for Mount Olive, while Rutledge, Sydow and Tyler Yanez added four blocks apiece. Yanez, who sat out the first set, finished with 36 assists. Jeff Yasalonis, one of four freshman starters for Mount Olive Saturday, recorded 14 assists in the opening set. Josh Donahue added 14 digs for the Trojans.

"We have a young team, but a lot of the freshmen already have a lot of experience," said Sydow. "The team has gelled together very quickly."

Barbosa led all players with 18 kills for Emmanuel, while Fountain added 10 kills. Enrique Larach recorded 46 assists and Meshach McKnight had a match-high 15 digs for the Lions.

Mount Olive is idle until next weekend when the Trojans head to Upstate South Carolina for a pair of Conference Carolinas matches. The Trojans are at Limestone Friday at 7 p.m. and at Erskine Saturday at 2 p.m. in a rematch of the championship match of last year's conference tournament.