BRISTOL, Tenn. – Three King Tornado team members had 10-plus kills in a near comeback that went five games against the New Jersey Technological Institute of Technology Highlanders. Down two games, King returned fire with a pair of set wins but fell short in a decisive game five, 15-13. King falls to 7-17 overall in the loss sustained Saturday afternoon.
James Friddle (Cartersville, Ga.) highlighted the match with a season-high 19 kills on 42 attempts (.458) while committing only five errors on the day. He was joined by two additional Tornado players with 10 or more kills. Michael Koebel (Richmond, Va.) and Eric Glenn (Portsmouth, Va.) each ended the day with 13 kills in the loss. Glenn shared a team lead with three blocks (one solo) with freshman Matthew Harper (Matoaca, Va.). Harper collected two solo blocks and one block assist while putting up eight kills, five coming in the first game.
King fell behind by two games early to the Highlanders, 25-18 and 25-22, but rebounded with back-to-back wins to tie up the match at two sets apiece. After NJIT brought in its team of reserves, King jumped all over the opportunity to begin a comeback. The Navy and Scarlett ran out to an 11-5 and rode the six-point lead all the way to a 25-19 finish while gaining momentum for game four.
James Friddle and Erin Glenn put together a combined 11 kills of the team's 16 total in game four in their 25-20 win to tie up the match at two games each. NJIT reentered its original starters, though it did not stop the wave the Tornado had created from the previous set. King went on a 11-6 run to begin the game and held that lead before the Highlanders closed the gap to two points and King called a timeout to break the drive NJIT was building. King jumped back into the saddle behind another Matt Harper kill and three straight errors by NJIT to bring the score to 20-14 prior to a timeout by the visitors. The Highlanders would not go away, again bringing themselves within a pair of points, 21-19, but King finished the fourth set on a 4-1 run behind kills from Friddle and Michael Koebel plus two unforced NJIT errors.
Despite equalizing the match at two games per team, NJIT's Chris Kaepernick took over the final set, leading the Highlanders to a 15-13 match win with eight kills in the frame. King began the match strong with a 5-2 lead built a kill by Jeremy Funk (Lancaster, Pa.) and four NJIT errors. The Highlanders went on a 10-4 run to regain the lead, 10-12. King tied the game at 13 when Michael Koebel put down his final kill of the day, prompting a timeout. Kaepernick finished off the Tornado with consecutive kills to give the Highlanders the win.
The Tornado (7-17) will continue its six-game homestand with back-to-back Conference Carolinas matches with Pfeiffer (March 23) and Mount Olive College (March 24). King will also play Mount St. Joseph on March 24 as part of a tri-match with Washington Adventist.