PHOENIX, Ariz. --- The Grand Canyon University men's volleyball team rallied to defeat Lees-McRae College in four sets after dropping the first frame to the Bobcats on Sunday afternoon, winning the match by scores of 23-25, 25-13, 25-17, and 25-22 to close out the weekend.
Grand Canyon (5-7) posted a .280 hitting percentage and a total of 17 blocks in the match, while holding the Bobcats (4-5) to a .132 clip on the attack. Chad Mercado (Orlando, Fla.) recorded his second straight match with at least 20 kills, recording 21 kills and five digs to pace the Bobcats. Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) posted his second consecutive match with 42 assists while also notching 10 digs to complete the double-double.
John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) chipped in seven kills, while Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.) and Sam Sheers (Centerville, Ohio) each recorded six kills. Juan Ramirez (Miami, Fla.) also notched a match-high 16 digs for the Bobcats.
Taylor Galliano (Norco, Calif.) paced the Antelopes with 11 kills on 18 swings, posting a .556 hitting percentage, while Jordan Tarantino (Valley Center, Calif.) and Taylor Griffin (Tucson, Ariz.) each tallied 10 kills. Keith Smith (Whittier, Calif.) chipped in 40 assists for Grand Canyon, while Trent Bruns (Mission Viejo, Calif.) added a team-high 14 digs. Tarantino also posted a match-high nine blocks.
Lees-McRae started strong in the first set, opening an early 11-6 lead on a Flood service ace. After the Bobcats stretched the lead to 16-11 on a Sheers kills, Grand Canyon answered with 10-4 run, taking a 21-20 lead on a Tarantino kill before Lees-McRae rallied to take the set on three straight kills by Mercado.
Grand Canyon answered right back in the second set, opening the frame with a 10-0 run en route to a 25-13 win in the frame. Lees-McRae fought back in the third set, taking an early 6-3 lead before the Antelopes rallied to claim a 15-12 advantage on a Griffin service ace. The Bobcats answered with a 4-1 spurt to even the score at 16-16 before Grand Canyon erupted for a 7-0 run en route to a 25-17 win in the third frame.
Neither team could gain a significant advantage in the fourth set, with Lees-McRae claiming the largest lead of the frame at 14-11 on a kill by Flood. Grand Canyon would battle back, taking a 16-15 lead before the Bobcats responded, launching a 5-1 run to claim a 20-17 advantage on back-to-back kills by Mercado. The Antelopes answered once again, scoring eight of the next nine points to claim the set bad the match.
Lees-McRae returns to the court next Saturday, Feb. 5 when the Bobcats open their Conference Carolinas schedule with a 3 p.m. matchup against Mount Olive College.
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