Harrisonburg, VA--In their second match of the day in Harrisonburg, VA at Yoder Arena the Lees-McRae Bobcats fell short of extending their winning streak when Eastern Mennonite (now 8-7) defeated them in four games, 3-1 (22-30, 30-26, 24-30, 23-30), Saturday afternoon in men's volleyball action. With the loss, the Bobcats slip to 1-7 on the season.
EMU, fresh off their defeat of Steven's on Friday, came out with a lot of intensity against a team that has notoriously played the Royals tough. EMU and and NCAA Division II Lees-McRae locked up two years ago for a record breaking five game match that finished with a 31-29 decision in favor of the Bobcats. According to Bill Kauffman of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, the match set a new record for total points in men's Division III. The NCAA does not keep regular season men's volleyball records, but only five women's matches in the history of NCAA Division I, II, and III had featured more points.
In the first game of the match the Royals took advantage of a dismal hitting percentage of .024 from the Bobcats to secure the 30-22 win. The Bobcats fought tenanciously in the second game, increasing their hitting percentage to .346 and slamming down a match high 22 kills to take game two 30-26.
With the score tied in the third, the Royals jumped out to a six point lead (21-15) only to see that dwindle to two as the Bobcats continued to pursue them. However, the Royals took advantage of Lees-McRae attack error and a kill (one of his 18 in the match) by Calen Hochstetler(Orange County, CA) to take the 30-24 victory.
In what would be the final game Bobcats jumped out to a two point lead (11-9) with Shane Holderby (Virginia Beach, VA) serving up one of his two service aces on the day for Lees-McRae. The Royals hung with LMC tying the game at 13 all. The teams traded both points and the lead up to the 20th point when EMU began to build a three point cushion off of a ace from senior setter Ben Yoder (Lederach, PA). Following a Bobcat timeout, EMU continued to pour on the offense with Frankie Coto (Miami, FL), Hochstetler, and sophomore outside Curtis Reesor (Stouffville, Ontario) each adding kills for the Royals. The Royals clinched the match with a 30-23 victory in game four.
The Bobcats were led by freshman Chad Mercado (Orlando, FL) who threw down 16 kills, 15 blocks, a pair of block solos and four block assists along with a service ace. Colin Kelly (Orlando, FL) had 14 kills and two aces, while classmate Holderby put up 13 kills, two aces, and two block assists. Setter Juan Ramirez (Miami, FL)led the Bobcats with 44 assists in the four game match. Kyle Gauger (Penfiel, NY) also chipped in 15 digs.
The Royals saw Yoder put up 45 assists, while Hochstetler had 18 kills and teammate Franki Coto finished with 13.
The Bobcats will resume play at home on Tuesday when King
College arrives on campus for a 7:00pm match. Eastern Mennonite
will host Villa Julie College on Monday February 18 at 7:00pm.
Pictured: Chad Mercado