BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) recorded a match-high 20 kills, including eight in the second set, and Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) added 11 smashes to lead the Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team to a pivotal 3-1 victory over Pfeiffer University in Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday evening in Williams Gymnasium.
Lees-McRae (15-8, 9-6 CC) won the match by scores of 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, and 25-20, posting a .236 hitting percentage in the contest while holding Pfeiffer (11-6, 10-3 CC) to a .126 clip on the attack. Each team recorded 11 blocks on the night, as the Bobcats tallied 56 kills and 45 digs. The Falcons notched 41 smashes and dug out 38 Bobcat attacks in the contest.
Ribas led the way for Lees-McRae with a match-high 20 kills, including 14 combined smashes in the second and third sets, as Harpenau added 11 kills and a blistering .588 hitting percentage. John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) chipped in nine smashes, while Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) posted a double-double with 43 assists and 10 digs.
Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) tallied five blocks (one solo, four assists), as Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) added a match-high 13 digs. Ribas posted four blocks (two solo, two assists), while Harpenau chipped in four block assists on the night.
Caleb Brophy led the way for Pfeiffer with 13 kills, as Fabio Diniz added seven smashes. Mark Hess recorded a match-high 13 digs, while David Specian posted a double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs to go along with five kills. Joe Supko tallied a contest-best seven blocks (one solo, six assists).
The opening set proved to be a tightly contested affair, with the lead changing hands six times before Pfeiffer put together a 4-2 spurt, claiming a 17-15 advantage on a service ace from Eric Edelman. Lees-McRae would answer with an 8-1 surge, taking a 23-18 lead following an emphatic block by Ramirez and Harpenau before Ramirez capped the set with a smash.
The Bobcats carried the momentum into the second set, opening the frame with a 6-2 run before the Falcons evened the tally at 6-6 on an LMC miscue. Lees-McRae would answer with a 10-3 surge, pushing the advantage to 16-9 following a solo block by Ribas. After Diniz trimmed the margin to 19-14 with an ace, the Bobcats countered with six of the next 10 points, claiming a 2-0 lead in the match on an emphatic kill by Harpenau.
Pfeiffer battled back in the third, taking a 13-11 lead on back-to-back solo blocks by Supko and Kyle Landrigan before Lees-McRae responded, evening the tally at 21-21 with a stuff by Jones and Lucas on the heels of a 10-8 run. The Falcons would answer with a 4-2 spurt, halving the margin in the match to 2-1 following a tandem block by Specian and Diniz.
The Bobcats fought back in the fourth set, taking an early 10-9 lead on a Harpenau smash before stretching the advantage to 19-16 following a kill by Lucas. Lees-McRae would push the margin to 23-19 with four of the next seven points, capping the spurt with a Harpenau kill before Ramirez and Harpenau closed out the set and the match with a textbook block.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Thursday when the Bobcats host New Jersey Institute of Technology at 7 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
- LMC -