In their first home match of the season the Lees-McRae men's volleyball team fought rival Mt. Olive College in a five game battle Friday evening in Williams Gymnasium losing 3-2 (23-30, 30-21, 31-29, 27-30, 9-15). The Trojans now stand at 5-4 on the year, while the youthful Bobcats fall to 0-4 in the season.
In game one it was the Trojans, guided by assistant coach Sara Christie while head coach Sasha Gutor recuperates from surgery for a ruptured appendix, who took advantage of a few mistakes on the Bobcat side to forge ahead early, maintaining the lead for a 30-23 win. The Bobcats, however, clawed their way back into the match in game two, putting down several kills to push themselves ahead. The Bobcats kept the lead to the end capturing game two by a score of 30-21.
The third game of the night proved to be a tight race to the end. The Bobcats came up with a great save when the ball bounced to the rafters off the head of Robert Ritchie (Hollywood, FL) and Ryan Black (Escondido, CA) sent the ball flying over the net for the kill. On the next point the teams volleyed until the Trojans sent one out-of-bounds giving the Bobcats the game 31-29.
The Bobcats and Trojans battled it out again in another tight race in game four, but in the end Mount Olive prevailed 30-27, proving they were not yet ready to leave the gym and forcing the match to a fifth and final game. This time it was the Trojans who stormed to the front winning the game 15-9 and the match 3-2.
"Like always Mt. Olive & Lees-McRae had a great battle. In the 5th game they were more efficient at the net and that was the difference maker," stated Head Coach Jamie Petrik.
Leading the way for the Bobcats was Colin Kelly (Orlando, FL) who put down 12 kills, served up three aces, and had two block solos and a block assist. Shane Holderby (Virginia Beach, VA) and Chad Mercado (Orlando, FL) fueled the Bobcats with 14 and 13 kills respectively while teammate Grant Cassell (Mt. Vernon, OH) helped defensively by putting up a block solo and a block assist before sitting out with an injury.
Juan Ramirez (Miami, FL), stepping in for an injured Josh Shea (Las Vegas, NV), put up 55 assists along with seven digs in the five game match and Ritchie, in addition to his big save in game three had eleven digs and two aces in the contest. Junior transfer Ryan Black added nine kills and two aces in the effort.
The Bobcats hit the road next weekend playing Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT) on Friday, February 8 at 7:00pm, then traveling on to Newark, NJ to face the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday, the 9th, at 3:00pm.
Pictured: Colin Kelly