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November 28, 2023 6:08 am

Mount Olive edged in five-set thriller at King

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The University of Mount Olive men’s volleyball team featured three players with double-digit kills after falling narrowly in a 3-2 loss at King in Conference Carolinas action on Saturday afternoon. King won by scores of 25-22, 20-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-11.

With the loss, the Trojans dropped to 9-14 overall with a 5-8 record in league play. Meanwhile, the Tornado improved to 13-14 this season behind an 8-5 mark in conference action.

Senior Pedro Gonzalez tied for the team lead with 12 kills with five blocks. Sophomore Tate Sandvig registered a kill/dig double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs while also adding four blocks. Freshman Constantinos Iacovou produced a season-high 11 kills with three aces and six blocks, while junior Hayden Frear finished with nine kills and three digs. Freshman Jackson Lahey directed the offense with 50 assists while adding nine digs and two blocks. On the defensive side, senior Trevor Treser tallied a team-high 13 digs.

In the first set, both sides battled back and forth early on with the Tornado holding a slight 13-12 advantage. The Trojans responded with four straight points to take the lead, but King countered to tie the contest at 16-16. Iacovou delivered a kill for UMO before a 7-1 rally by the Tornado put them ahead by a 23-18 margin. Mount Olive scored four of the following five points to cut the deficit to 24-22 before a service error closed out the set, 25-22.

The second set was knotted at 7-7 at the beginning before three consecutive points put the Trojans in front 10-7. King managed to close the gap to 12-11, but UMO answered with a 10-4 run, including three kills from Sandvig, to take a 22-15 advantage. The Tornado trimmed the deficit to 23-19 before Mount Olive scored two of the final three points to win the set, 25-20.

King leaped ahead by an 8-5 margin early in the third set before a 4-1 rally from the Trojans tied the match at 9-9. The Tornado responded by totaling four of the next five points to take a slight 13-10 edge before the sides traded points down the final stretch of the set. King held a 24-20 lead before sealing the set with a kill, 25-20.

In the fourth set, the Tornado jumped out to another quick lead by a 7-4 margin before Mount Olive countered a 6-2 run to grab the advantage, 10-9. King responded with consecutive points to reclaim the lead, but the Trojans stormed ahead with an 8-3 run to take an 18-14 edge. King closed the gap to 22-19 late in the fourth before UMO scored three of the final four points to win by a 25-20 margin.

Mount Olive built a 7-5 advantage in the fifth set, but the Tornado answered with five straight points to take a 10-7 lead. The Trojans mounted a short 3-1 run to cut the deficit to 11-10 before King tallied four of the final five points to clinch the win, 15-11.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics