BRISTOL, Tenn. – King College Men's Volleyball split their day one action in Phoenix, Ariz., with a win against the Johnson & Whales (CO) Wildcats after taking an opening game loss to host Grand Canyon University. The Tornado improve to 5-5 overall and will return to the courts for a second doubleheader at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. MT on Saturday.
GAME ONE: KING 0, GRAND CANYON 3 (15-25, 17-25, 14-25)
Grand Canyon set the tone early in the first set, jumping out to a 7-0 lead while registering only two kills during the run. The Antelopes went on a second run at 15-9, this time a six-point run to extend their lead over King to 12 points and eventually a 15-25 first match lead.
The second set was even matched all the way to the point where the Tornado trailed by only one point, 15-14. Five kills from four different GCU players helped fuel the final separation between the two when the Antelopes initiated a 10-3 run to end the middle frame, 17-25.
King committed six of their 19 attack errors on the night in the third set while Taylor Griffin and Chris Lockwood turned up the heat with four kills apiece in the final set that ended 14-25. James Friddle (Carterville, Ga.) tallied four of his seven kills is the first match in the final set.
Friddle and Eric Glenn (Portsmouth, Va.) led the Tornado with seven kills apiece. Jeremy Funk (Lancaster, Pa.) and Friddle each had six digs to lead the team. Ned Parker (Richmond, Va.) had 19 assists for the Tornado. Lockwood led Grand Canyon with 12 kills and hit at an 80 percent marker in the victory.
GAME TWO: KING 3, JOHNSON & WHALES (CO) 1 (25-19, 25-27, 25-14, 25-19)
The Tornado brought it together for game two of the doubleheader and responded well with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-27, 25-14, 25-19) win over the Johnson & Whales (CO) Wildcats. James Friddle led the team with 13 kills and recorded four service aces while teammate Eric Glenn also posted double-digit kills with 11.
King jumped out to a 10-4 opening run with help from six different errors from a collection of Wildcat players before a timeout was taken to break up the streak. The break did not help as King continued on another run, scoring eight of the next 11 points, including a pair of kills by Jeremy Funk. Though the Wildcats continued to fight back, the Tornado finished the first set benefitting from a service error by J&W's Alex Beehner.
The second game featured a neck-and-neck race to 25 that needed extra points to decide a winner. Johnson & Whales won the race to 25 but needed three extra services to win by two points. After swapping points on a service error and kill by Friddle, Wildcat hitter Nick Legler gave J&W a one-point edge with a kill, 26-25. Jeremy Funk's attack error on the following series gave the Wildcats the win, 27-25, to tie the match at one game.
The Tornado returned fire creating an early cushion with a 13-5 start to the third game. Once Johnson & Whales hit the 10-point mark, King scored the next five points in return to double up the Wildcats, 20-10. Friddle posted five of his 13 total kills in the third frame while the Wildcats committed 13 errors in the set alone as King took a 2-1 advantage with a third set victory, 25-14.
The final set was decided by a count of 25-19 with King breaking away after the teams battled to a 11-11 tie. Behind Friddle at the service line, Stephen Brown (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Michael Koebel (Richmond, Va.) each put down a kill and benefitted from a J&W attack error. Friddle then added one of his four service aces in the match to give the Tornado a four-point cushion, 15-12. The Navy and Scarlett rode that lead all the way to the end until the final point was counted on Brown's seventh kill of the match.
Glenn quietly collected 11 kills, posting four in the second and fourth sets in the Tornado victory. He and Friddle both added three block assists to accompany Matthew Harper's team-high four. Brandon Rorer (Richmond, Va.) and Ned Parker both collected double digit dig counts, with 18 and 17 respectively. Parker added 41 of the team's 47 assists to his line to aid the win.
King (5-5) will open their day two action with Johnson & Whales (0-5) tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. / 3:00 p.m. MT and conclude their trip to Phoenix, Ariz., by playing host school Grand Canyon University (6-5) in the nightcap at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. MT, Saturday.