MOUNT OLIVE – After tallying 35 kills on Jan. 20, the University of Mount Olive men’s volleyball team secured a 3-0 sweep over Merrimack in non-conference play at Kornegay Arena by scores of 25-23, 25-20, 25-21.
With the win, the Trojans improved to 2-1 overall following their home opener after starting the year with a pair of road matches in Tennessee. Meanwhile, the Warriors dropped to 0-3 this season in their inaugural season as a program.
Sophomore Tate Sandvig paced the team with nine kills and four digs, while junior Hayden Frear finished with seven kills and five digs. Senior Pedro Gonzalez registered six kills and junior Justin Gregory delivered five kills. Freshman Jackson Lahey directed the offense with 33 assists while adding three digs. Senior Trevor Terser led the defensive effort with six digs, while Gonzalez controlled the net with four blocks (two solos).
The opening set featured 10 ties and four lead changes. Mount Olive held an 11-10 lead early in the set before Merrimack registered four straight points, including three service aces, to gain the advantage, 14-11. UMO battled back to close the gap to 19-18 after scoring six of the following nine points with four different players recording a kill. The Warriors countered with back-to-back points before the Trojans went on a 7-2 rally to win the first set, 25-23.
Mount Olive increased its lead to 2-0 following the second set after both teams recorded 11 kills. Merrimack jumped out to an early 7-5 advantage before UMO responded with a 7-2 run to take the lead, 12-9. The Trojans strengthened their advantage to 20-13, but the Warriors countered with a 4-1 rally to trim the deficit to 21-17. Mount Olive registered three kills over the next four points to claim a 24-18 advantage before winning the set on a service error, 25-20.
The Trojans completed the 3-0 sweep in the third set with a 25-21 win behind 17 kills. Merrimack held an initial 4-3 lead before UMO produced six consecutive points, including a pair of kills from Frear, to take a 9-4 advantage. The Warriors cut the deficit to 9-6, but the Trojans stretched the lead following a 9-3 run with Gregory leading the offense with three kills in that span. Both sides traded the following nine points before Merrimack countered with an 8-1 rally to close the lead to 24-21. Mount Olive sealed the sweep on the next point with a kill by junior Tom Klotzbuecher.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics