NEWARK, N.J. --- Lees-McRae sophomore Brady Markle delivered a match-high 20 kills, but LMC struggled offensively in a 25-21, 19-25, 17-25, 17-25 loss at NJIT in nonconference action at the Fleisher Center in Newark, N.J.
The Highlanders (4-5) had four players recorded double digit kills while the offense hit an efficient .361. The Bobcats (9-5) saw their four-match win streak snapped while after hitting below .100 in the final three sets.
Markle (York, Pa.) started the match with consecutive kills while LMC led wire-to-wire in the opening set.
Freshman John Sobel (Holbrook, N.Y.) duplicated his teammates success with back-to-back kills to give the Bobcats an early 9-4 lead.
The Highlanders' TJ Jurko connected on a kill to cut the deficit to two, 14-12, but Markle blasted home a pair of kills while LMC led by at least two the rest of the set.
NJIT made it interesting following a service error, 21-19. However, Markle carried the offense with four more kills while the Bobcats hit at a .433 clip in the first set.
The second set proved to be a see-saw battle while Raphael Anthony used three block assists to put NJIT up, 15-14.
The Highlanders used a 6-2 run to gain a five-point lead, 21-16.
Senior Josh Cothron (Bradenton, Fla.) collected one of his three kills to make it 22-18, but NJIT held strong to win the second. LMC struggled while hitting .040 and NJIT hit .429 in the set.
Sobel and Markle connected on consecutive kills to tie the third at 10. The Highlanders responded with a 9-4 run following a pair of Jabbary Goodridge kills.
Freshman Mark Shayka (Hamilton, Va.) chimed in with a kill, but LMC trailed 22-17. NJIT wrapped the set up of with a block from Ryan Thomas and Luke Robbe.
Kajetan Borecki delivered one of his team-high 13 kills to give NJIT a 9-8 advantage in the decisive set.
Once again, the Highlanders offense ripped off a 10-5 run despite a Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Markle kill.
A Cothron kill made it 19-14, but that would be as close as LMC would get while NJIT grabbed the final set, 25-17.
Borecki paced the team in kill while Goodridge (11), Thomas (11) and Jurko (10) recorded double figures. Zak Robben dished out 35 assists.
Efrian Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) led LMC with 12 digs while Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paved the way with 39 assists.
The Bobcats return to action Tuesday in Belmont, N.C. when they battle Belmont Abbey at 7 p.m. LMC swept the Crusaders Feb. 4.
- LMC -