Bobcats Go 2-1 in Mt. Olive Tournament

Mt. Olive, NC--The Lees-McRae Bobcats beat two of their three opponents this weekend at the Mt. Olive Men's Volleyball Tournament in Mt. Olive, NC, defeating both Warner Southern and York College to improve their overall record to 3-10 on the year. The Bobcats also had two members named to the All-Tournament team, freshmen Colin Kelly (Orlando, FL) and Juan Ramirez (Miami, FL).

Friday's Game
Mount Olive 3, Lees-McRae 1 (18-30, 31-29, 28-30, 29-31)

In their first match of the tournament the Bobcats went up against host school Mt. Olive College ready to seek revenge on a 3-2 loss to the Trojans at home a month earlier. The Trojans came into the match hungry to continue a six match winning streak which began with the win over the Bobcats.

In game one it looked like Mt. Olive would dominate the match when they walked away with the 30-18 win. However, the Bobcats clawed their way back in game two, hitting .560 to take the two point 31-29 victory. Games three and four proved to be an endurance test for both teams as Mt. Olive snuck out the 30-28 win in the third and then clinched the match with taking the fourth 31-29.

The Bobcats were led by freshman Colin Kelly who slammed down a game high 24 kills and served two aces while maintaining a .455 hitting percentage. Junior transfer Ryan Black (Escondido, CA) had one block solo and five block assists in the effort, while Jeremy Evans (Raleigh, NC) added ten kills and two more aces of his own. Shane Holderby (Virginia Beach, VA) put up 45 assists in the four game contest.

Pedro Penate and Osvaldo Perez recorded 16 kills apiece for the Trojans, while Jose Lanier added 14 kills. Kris Suarez tallied 11 digs and Zach Wilson added 61 assists.

Saturday - Game One
Lees-McRae 3, Warner Southern 1 (31-29, 30-22, 30-32, 30-24)

Facing the Warner Southern Royals (Lake Wales, FL) in their first match Saturday the Bobcats capitalized on experience gained by battling through close matches to capture the 3-1 win. With the win the Bobcats improve to 2-10 on the season while the Royals drop to 4-6 on the year after defeating Eastern Mennonite 3-0 the previous evening.

Deciding to give themselves the edge in the match the Bobcats clawed their way to a two-point victory over the Royals in game one, then continued their winning ways to grab what would prove to be their largest margin of victory in a 30-22 second game. The Royals, knowing it was now or never, showed they were not ready to give up their reign when they took the 32-30 win in game three to force the match to a fourth and, what would be, final game. Lees-McRae, with their second win of the season within grasp, refused to back off, defeating Warner Southern 30-24.

Freshman Robert Ritchie (Hollywood, CA) led the Bobcats with 17 kills, 11 digs and hit a career high .640 for the match while teammate Kelly recorded 24 kills for the second game in a row. Ryan Black continued making big plays for the Bobcats with two block solos and two block assists while Evans had two block solos, one block assist and seven kills in the winning effort. Juan Ramirez added nine digs and Shane Holderby finished with 45 assists.

Matt Gizzi paced Warner Southern with 18 kills, nine digs and two aces. Shedrick Forbes added 17 kills and Josh Kornegay finished with 10. Sergio Rios tallied 41 assists and four blocks, while Nick Brutus recorded 12 digs.

Saturday - Game Two
Lees-McRae 3, York 0 (30-11, 30-11, 30-13)

In the third and final match for the Bobcats in the Mt. Olive Tournament the Bobcat squad pounded York College (NY) 3-0 to claim their second win of the day. From the start of game one the Bobcats bolted out to a healthy lead to gain the 30-11 win. Game two was a repeat of the first with the score again ending 30-11 in the Bobcats favor. With victory in sight Lees-McRae clinched the win by a score of 30-13.

Shane Holderby led Lees-McRae with 10 kills, nine digs and two blocks while hitting a.692. Kyle Gauger (Penfield, NY) added seven kills, five digs and three aces. Ramirez finished with 13 assists and Ritchie added 11 assists.

Peterson Bastien led York with two blocks and an ace, while Marcin Kasza had four digs.

The loss puts York at 3-14 on the season while the Bobcats will attempt to build on their two-game winning as they make a four game road trip to California next week.

Pictured: Robert Ritchie