King suffered 3-0 setback in Conference Carolinas title tilt at MOC

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. - Benedikt Schirmers led all players with 17 kills and match Most Valuable Player John Nunns added 15 kills with no errors in 18 attempts as Mount Olive defeated King 25-19, 27-25, 25-20 Thursday at Kornegay Arena to capture the 2011 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Championship, the second straight for Mount Olive.

Mount Olive, which entered the match with the highest team hitting percentage in the nation, recorded a .478 hitting percentage Thursday, the Trojans' highest hitting percentage against a Conference Carolinas opponent. Nunns compiled an .833 hitting percentage, while Schirmers had only two errors in 26 attempts for a .577 hitting percentage. Tim Ebbecke tallied nine kills and no errors in 13 attempts for a .692 hitting percentage.

Schirmers tallied five early kills as Mount Olive jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the first set. King got as close as two points after a kill by Eric Glenn, but Angel Dache's solo block gave the Trojans a 15-10 lead and the margin never fell below three points the remainder of the set. Schirmers had eight kills in the first set.

The second set turned into a battle of scoring runs as a pair of kills by Ebbecke helped the Trojans take a 10-7 lead. The Tornado tied the set after blocks on consecutive points, a solo block by Jenson Lavalee and a double block by Brandon Rorer and Glenn. Back-to-back aces by James Friddle broke a 12-12 tie and King took advantage of a ball handling error to build a 17-14 lead.

Schirmers recorded a kill for a side out and Trojan setter Jackson Mettechecchia followed with a six-point service run as Mount Olive regained the lead 21-17. The Trojans were up 23-20 before King came back with four unanswered points, highlighted by an ace by Ned Parker.

Nunns kept Mount Olive alive in the set, recording kills to fight off two set points, then notching another kill to put the Trojans ahead 26-25. A Tornado attack error drew Mount Olive within one set of winning the championship.

The Trojans rallied from an early two-point deficit in the third set as Dache's ace and a kill by Nunns highlighted a run of six unanswered points to put Mount Olive ahead to stay 12-8. King pulled within 20-18 on James Friddle's ace, but Nunns answered with a kill. The teams traded side outs as Nunns had another kill in between a service error by each team as the Trojans led 22-20.

King committed another service error Schirmers had a kill to set up championship point. Schirmers sealed the win with a solo block, his second block of the night.

Trojan libero Dan Arnold recorded eight digs and earned the distinction of being part of two conference championship teams. Arnold is a member of the Mount Olive men's track and field team, which won the Conference Carolinas championship Saturday.

Mettechecchia, who leads the nation in assists, finished with 46 assists to go with a match-high nine digs.

Glenn led King with 10 kills and no errors in 17 attempts, but had to come out of the match during the third set with a thumb injury. Friddle had a match-high four service aces, while setter Joel Salva finished with 27 assists. Salva was named this year's Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Player of the Year.

The win was Mount Olive's first ever over King at Kornegay Arena. Mount Olive fell to King in five sets April 8, the Trojans' only conference loss during the regular season.

Men's volleyball is in its second year as an "emerging sport" in Conference Carolinas. It will become an official championship sport next year when a sixth conference school adds the sport. Mount Olive, King, Lees-McRae, Limestone and Pfeiffer will be joined by Barton next year.

Mount Olive finishes the 2011 season with a record of 20-7, while King finishes at 11-9.

Portions provided by Mount Olive Sports Information