January 29, 2012

Pioneers Stumble in Home Opener Versus Lees-McRae, 3-1

Fairfield, CT – The SHU men's volleyball team got off to a blistering start but the Lees-McRae Bobcats took the final three sets to push past Sacred Heart, 3-1, Sunday afternoon.  Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) paced the Pioneers with 15 kills while Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) tallied 13 kills and three blocks. 

Sacred Heart (2-4) dominated the first set, racking up 15 kills against three errors for a .462 hitting percentage.  Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) put down five of his nine kills in the opening frame.  Connor Bohl (Centennial, CO) recorded four digs as the Bobcats made seven hitting errors in the first set.  SHU closed the game on a 6-1 run to claim the set, 25-18, as Mackenzie powered down kills for the final two points.

Lees-McRae (2-3) stormed out to a 13-3 cushion to kick-off the second set and would finish it with a team high .250 hitting percentage.  The Pioneers chipped away at the deficit and saved four match points but the Bobcats leveled the match at 1-1 as Chris Flood registered a kill for set point at 25-18.  Flood was tops on the Lees-McRae squad with 10 kills in the match.

The Bobcats momentum carried into the third set as the visitors built a 20-13 advantage.  However, the Pioneers would not go quietly and began to mount a comeback.  Sacred Heart rallied to earn the next eight points and grab a 21-20 edge.  The 8-0 run was capped by a triple block from Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands), Hunt and Mackenzie to tie the set at 20-20 as well as a thunderous Komlanc kill to push SHU in front. 

The two sides were even at 22-22 when Lees-McRae was able to side out to inch on top, 23-22, followed by a SHU attacking error that gave the Bobcats set point.  Jose Ribas secured one of his eight kills to thwart the Pioneer comeback and send the third set to the Bobcats, 25-23.

Lees-McRae struggled offensively in the fourth set with only four kills but the defense took over down the stretch.  The Bobcats rang up six blocks in the final stanza including match point off the hands of Flood and Matt Harpenau.  Lees-McRae used an 11-5 spurt down the stretch to win the set, 25-18, and the match, 3-1.

The Pioneers return to action this Thursday as they open up the EIVA schedule on the road against Rutgers-Newark.