Tornado swept by Lees-McRae

BANNER ELK, N.C. – The King University men's volleyball team was unable to put together a winning streak in conference play, falling in a road match at Lees-McRae College 3-0 after a sweep of Belmont Abbey over the weekend.

The Bobcats (8-4, 3-2 Conference Carolinas) gained momentum during the opening set and rarely relinquished it, using a relatively uneventful first set to take an early lead and withstand a late King rally to earn the sweep.

Eddie Moushikhian led the Tornado (6-5, 3-3 Conference Carolinas) with 11 kills on the evening and also contributed a pair of blocks. Nick Serowski, who last week was named a National Freshman of the Week Honorable Mention by Off the Block, added eight kills. Jeff Bosslet and Matthew DeLong had 16 and 11 assists respectively, while Mason Casner notched a pair of blocks and King's lone ace of the match. Kiel Bell added a block and an assist to his six kills on the evening.

The first set was back-and-forth in the early going and was tied at seven points apiece after a Moushikhian kill evened the score. The Bobcats began a brief run before the Tornado pulled to within 12-10. But Lees-McRae countered with a 7-2 run sparked by a kill by Brady Markle, who had a match-high 12 kills, to build a 19-12 lead. The Tornado were never able to pull within six points through the rest of the set and fell 25-17.

The teams played to a near draw through the early going of the second set, with the Tornado trailing just 10-9 after a Bobcats attack error. Lees-McRae pulled ahead by as many as four points before King closed the gap to 15-14 on Casner's ace. But the Bobcats used a service error to spark a 10-5 run to close the set and sealed the 25-19 win on a block by Markle and John Lucas.

King appeared poised to push the match to four sets as the Tornado maintained a three-point advantage for much of the early going in set three. The Bobcats, however, strung together a 4-0 run to tie the match at 12, then took an eventual 19-17 lead before two straight attack errors and a Nick Serowski kill gave the lead back to King and forced a Bobcat timeout. The teams were tied at 20 and 21 points, but three consecutive Lees-McRae points gave the Bobcats a match point. Two Tornado points made the score 24-23, but Markle punctuated the final point with a kill to give Lees-McRae a hard-fought 25-23 win in the third set.

The Bobcats hit .288 for the match and had nine total team blocks. Matt Harpenau totaled ten kills for the match, joining with Markle to give the Bobcats two players with double-figure kill totals. Randy Ramirez had 30 assists and had kills on four of his five attempts without an error.

King will next compete at a tournament in Franklin Springs, Ga. this weekend hosted by future Conference Carolinas member Emmanuel College. The Tornado will face the Lions, Warner University, and Siena Heights University this Friday and Saturday. First serve for Friday's match against Emmanuel is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.