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October 3, 2023 11:24 am

Trojans defeat Tusculum in men’s volleyball opener

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Three players with double-digit kills helped the University of Mount Olive men’s volleyball team collect a 3-1 win at Tusculum in non-conference play in the season opener on Jan. 12 by scores of 25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 25-16.

Head Coach Omar Sanchez secured his first win at the helm after joining UMO in late September. Meanwhile, the Pioneers fell to 0-3 to begin the season with all losses against schools from the Conference Carolinas.

Redshirt junior transfer Hayden Frear led all players with 16 kills in his debut with the program. Fellow junior Justin Gregory finished with 14 kills, and sophomore transfer Tate Sandvig tallied 11 kills. Freshman Jackson Lahey directed the offense with 49 assists in his first collegiate match with Mount Olive.

Senior Trevor Treser led the defensive effort with 10 digs, while Sandvig produced seven digs. Sophomore Holden Maryott controlled the net with a team-high four blocks. The Trojans finished the contest with six service aces, led by Frear and Gregory with two each.

The first set featured 12 ties and five lead changes, as Mount Olive took the opening set with 16 kills on a .516 hitting percentage. Both teams exchanged the lead over the initial points of the set with the match tied at 10. The Trojans established a 17-12 advantage after scoring seven of the following nine points with a pair of kills from Frear. The Pioneers responded with a 4-1 run to close the gap to 18-16 before tying the contest at 20 following a service ace. Gregory delivered consecutive kills to regain the lead, but Tusculum stormed back with three points to grab a 23-22 advantage. Following a UMO timeout, the Trojans registered three unanswered points to win the set, 25-23.

The Pioneers bounced back in the second set and tied the match at 1-1. Tusculum built an early 3-1 lead in the second before stretching the advantage to 10-7 after totaling five of the next seven points. With the Pioneers holding a 12-8 advantage, UMO countered with a 5-2 rally to cut the deficit to 14-13 following a trio of kills from Frear. Both teams traded the following six points before Tusculum delivered three straight points to take a 20-16 advantage. Mount Olive closed the gap to 21-18 after a kill from Gregory, but the Pioneers claimed the set with a 4-1 run, 25-19.

UMO reclaimed the lead 2-1 in the third set after recording 15 kills. Tusculum quickly took a 5-2 advantage before the Trojans produced five of the following seven points to tie the match at 7. Mount Olive established an 11-9 lead, but the Pioneers responded with a short 3-1 rally to knot the set at 12. UMO mounted a 7-2 run, including two kills from Sandvig, to extend the advantage to 19-14. Following a timeout, Tusculum managed to trim the deficit to 21-18, but the Trojans finished the set with a 4-1 run to win the set 25-19.

In the fourth set, Mount Olive completed the win with a 25-16 set. The Pioneers raced out to a 7-5 lead in the fourth before UMO countered with three straight points, 8-7. After exchanging the following four points, the Trojans went on a 10-2 run, which included five attacking errors by Tusculum to build a 19-11 advantage. The Pioneers battled back to close the gap to 22-16 before UMO secured the win with three unanswered points to earn the victory.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics