MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive men’s volleyball team had its rally cut short on Feb. 25 in a 3-1 loss versus Lees-McRae in Conference Carolinas play at Kornegay Arena by scores of 25-21, 25-22, 19-25, 26-24.
With the loss, the Trojans fell to 5-10 this season with a 1-6 record in league play. Mount Olive will now have a chance to regroup, entering a two-week idle period in its schedule ahead of the second half of conference play. Meanwhile, the Bobcats improved to 7-6 overall with a 4-2 mark in conference action.
In his first career start, freshman Kory Grant registered a season-high 13 kills with five digs. Sophomore Tate Sandvig finished with 11 kills and nine digs, while senior Pedro Gonzalez delivered eight kills with an ace and three blocks. Freshman Constantinos Iacovou also added seven kills with one ace and three digs. Fellow freshman Jackson Lahey guided the offensive effort with 33 assists, while junior Jack Yerxa totaled seven.
Senior libero Trevor Treser matched a season-high with 13 digs with Sandvig following close behind with nine digs. The Trojans recorded six aces on Saturday with junior Hayden Frear leading the team with a pair.
In the first set, Lees-McRae raced out to a 7-3 advantage behind five early kills before UMO countered by scoring seven of the next 10 points to tie the match at 10. The Bobcats answered with a 7-3 run to stretch the lead to 17-13 before eventually holding a 24-17 edge late in the set. The Trojans responded with four straight points, including kills from Iacovou and Grant, to trim the deficit to 24-21. On the following possession, Lees-McRae took the first set after a service error, 25-21.
The Bobcats held a comfortable advantage throughout a majority of the second set and ultimately established a 19-11 lead. Mount Olive stormed back with seven unanswered points, including two aces from Frear, to close the gap to 19-18. Lees-McRae totaled five of the following eight points to reach set point before clinching the win on a service error by UMO.
In the third set, Mount Olive built a 13-9 advantage following a 6-1 run which featured a pair of kills from Grant. The Bobcats rallied to cut the deficit to 16-15 before the Trojans totaled six of the following seven points to take a 22-16 lead. Lees-McRae countered by scoring three straight points, but UMO sealed the third set with three consecutive points, including kills from Sandvig and Gonzalez, 25-19.
Both teams exchanged points over the initial possessions of the fourth set before the Bobcats held a 14-10 advantage after tallying three straight points. Mount Olive managed to trim the deficit to 17-16 and remained within striking distance late in the set. With Lees-McRae ahead 24-22, the Trojans rallied back to tie the match at 24 following a kill by Grant. The Bobcats registered the final two points to claim the match win.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics