BRISTOL, Tenn. – King split the first four sets of both matches with Belmont Abbey and Quincy, but both squads defeated the Tornado in five sets Saturday at the Student Center Complex. With the losses, King dropped to 1-3 (0-2 Conference Carolinas) on the young season.
BELMONT ABBEY 3, KING 2 (23-25, 25-21, 16-25, 26-24, 15-12)
In the first match of the day against conference foe, Belmont Abbey, the Crusaders took the final four points in the fourth set, saving two match points in the process, and won the final set, 15-12, to defeat King 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 16-25, 26-24, 15-12) in the first half of the morning's twinbill. With the win, the Crusaders improved to 2-0 (1-0 Conference Carolinas) in the program's first season of existence.
Nolan Albrecht and Griffin O'Camb each had double figures in both kills and digs for Belmont Abbey. Albrecht had 10 kills and 14 digs (team high) and O'Camb added a team-high 12 kills and 11 digs. Dustin Buell contributed nine kills and five blocks (1 solo, 4 assists).
Junior Stephen Brown (Lawrenceville, Ga.) led the Tornado with 18 kills and freshman Matthew Lychock had 13 kills on just 22 attempts (.545). Senior Michael Koebel tallied 12 kills and senior Ned Parker registered 17 digs, a match high.
The first set was close throughout with neither team leading by more than three points. King trailed 23-22, but Lychock knotted the score at 23 with a kill. Two attack errors by Belmont Abbey gave the Tornado the first set, 25-23.
King got off to a fast start in the second set and took a 12-7 lead, but the Crusaders turned the momentum around with a 9-1 run. King got within two at 23-21 on a kill by Brown but Belmont Abbey won the last two points to take the second and tie the match at a set apiece, 25-21.
King ran out to a 6-1 lead to begin the third set and the margin was never closer than three after that point. Leading 19-16, the Tornado won the last six points to take a 2-1 lead, 25-16. Belmont Abbey struggled in the third set and committed 10 errors to go along with seven kills (-.091). The Tornado had 12 kills to go along with just seven errors (.156 hitting percentage)
Belmont Abbey responded in the fourth set by taking a 16-10 lead. The Tornado then stormed back and took 13 of the next 17 points to lead 23-20. King had two match points at 24-22 thanks to a kill by Stephen Brown. A kill by the Crusaders saved one chance to end the set and made it 24-23. The next point, junior Jeff Bosslet (St. Louis, Mo.) was called for an attack error which shifted the momentum to the Belmont Abbey side and tied the score at 24. The Crusaders took the last two points on a kill by Buell and another Tornado attack error which gave the Crusaders the set, 26-24, and tied the match at two sets apiece.
Using the momentum gained from the fourth set, the Crusaders ran out to a 7-2 lead in the final set. King closed the gap to 13-11 on a couple of Belmont Abbey errors, but could never get closer. A Tornado service error allowed the Crusaders to take the fifth, 15-12, and the match, three sets to two.
QUINCY 3, KING 2 (23-25, 29-27, 25-15, 21-25, 15-7)
In the second match, King and Quincy, a Division I program in volleyball, split the first four sets before Quincy dominated the fifth, 15-7, to take the match three sets to two (23-25, 29-27, 25-15, 21-25, 15-7).
Quincy had three players who had at least 16 kills, Jack Gamache (18), Steven Battaglia (16), and Ian Lawson (16). As a team, Quincy had a hitting percentage of .233 compared to just .073 for the Tornado. Lawson also had 14 digs to lead the Hawks.
The Tornado's best offensive performance came from Koebel who had 17 kills to give him 29 over the two games. Freshman Adrian Lopez (Houston, Texas) had 13 digs to lead the Tornado while Parker added 12.
The first set was tight the whole way, however Lychock gave the Tornado the first set with a kill to take it, 25-23. The second one was even closer, as King had four chances to take a two set lead, but the Hawks saved all of them. Consecutive kills by Lawson allowed Quincy to tie the match at a set apiece by taking the second, 29-27.
Quincy dominated in the third set, 25-15, as King struggled with a -.138 hitting percentage (5 kills, 9 errors). The Hawks had 10 kills and five errors in the set. Chris Lynch finished off the third set with a kill to give the Hawks a two sets to one lead.
Quincy looked as if they would win in four sets as they jumped out to a 13-10 lead in the fourth. The Tornado responded with a furious 8-0 rally to take an 18-13 lead. Quincy closed the gap to 21-20, but King took four of the last five points, concluding with a kill by sophomore Mason Casner (Culpepper, Va.) to knot the match at two sets all by taking the fourth, 25-21.
The Hawks trailed 3-2 in the final set before going on a decisive 8-1 run to take a 10-4 lead and went on to take the final set, 15-7, and the match, three sets to two. Quincy played its best when it counted most in the fifth by having 9 kills on 16 attempts (.562 hitting percentage) to go along with no errors in the final frame. King had 5 kills and 3 errors on 16 attempts (.125 hitting percentage) in the fifth set.
King is in action again next Saturday, Jan. 19, in the Student Center against Pfeiffer in a Conference Carolinas matchup. First service is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.