MOUNT OLIVE – Junior Justin Gregory registered a career-high 21 kills as the University of Mount Olive men’s volleyball team claimed a 3-1 victory over Barton at Kornegay Arena in Conference Carolinas play on Feb. 21 by scores of 23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-16.
With the win, the Trojans snapped their seven-game skid and improved to 5-8 this season with a 1-4 mark in league action. UMO has won the last five meetings against Barton, including three victories at Kornegay. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fell to 1-10 overall with a 1-4 league record under first-year head coach J.T. Deppe.
Gregory produced a career night for the Trojans after tallying 21 kills with two aces and four digs. He now has more than 100 kills this season while pacing the team with 3.39 points per set.
Sophomore Tate Sandvig posted his third career kill/dig double-double after totaling a season-high 17 kills with 11 digs. Senior Pedro Gonzalez finished with 10 kills, one block and three digs over four sets played, while junior Hayden Frear delivered 10 kills, three aces and five digs. Freshman Jackson Lahey led the offensive effort with an assist/dig double-double behind a career-high 57 assists and 11 digs.
Mount Olive featured four players with double-digit digs, led by senior libero Trevor Treser with 12. On the defensive end at the net, freshman Constantinos Iacovou tallied a season-high three blocks while Sandvig added a pair of blocks.
In the opening set, the Trojans held a slight 9-7 advantage following a pair of kills from Gregory and Iacovou. The Bulldogs answered with a 5-1 run to claim a 12-10 lead before the Trojans eventually tied the contest at 14 with an ace from Gonzalez. With UMO holding a 16-15 advantage, Barton responded with five consecutive points to regain a 20-16 lead, but Mount Olive scored three unanswered to trail 20-19. The Trojans remained behind heading into set point before the Bulldogs sealed the win on a kill, 25-23.
UMO raced out to an early 7-3 advantage in the second set after a trio of kills from Gregory. Barton countered by scoring five of the following seven points to tie the match at 7 before the Trojans pulled ahead 15-12 with kills from four players. Mount Olive would stretch the advantage on a 7-3 run to take a 22-15 lead before the Bulldogs rallied late to trail 24-19. On the following point, Gregory slammed a kill to even up the match, 25-19.
In the third set, the Trojans established an immediate lead as Sandvig led the offense with four kills to take a 14-10 advantage. Barton answered with four straight points to tie the match at 14 before Mount Olive mounted a 9-3 rally, which included five consecutive points to hold a 23-17 lead. After back-to-back points from the Bulldogs, UMO secured the set on a kill from Sandvig and an attacking error to win by a 25-19 margin.
Following little separation in the initial points of the set, the Trojans tallied four unanswered points to grab an 18-11 lead. The sides exchanged the next four points before Barton trimmed the deficit to 20-15. Mount Olive completed the 3-1 match victory with a 5-1 run to capture its first conference win of the year.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics