BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Seniors Matt Harpenau and Kevin Morrison made the most of their final home game while each accumulated double-digit kills, but LMC fell short in a tightly-contested battle against Erskine, 25-23, 24-26, 22-25, 24-26, on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Flying Fleet (19-6, 12-2 CC) proved why they are the No. 1 seed in the Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament while it hit progressively better in each set. The Bobcats (12-15, 4-10) hit a match-best .381 in the second set after honoring seven seniors prior to the game.
Freshman John Sobel (Holbrook, N.Y.) fired up the home crowd with consecutive aces while LMC sprinted out to a 9-4 lead in the opening set.
EC's Michael Michelau and Corey Marks teamed up to help produce an 8-3 run to tie it at 12.
Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio), Sobel and Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) clamped down while LMC responded with an 8-4 spurt, forcing a Flying Fleet timeout.
EC would cut the deficit to one following consecutive LMC attack errors, but Sobel smashed home one of his seven kills to give LMC the set.
Sobel finished the match with three aces, eight digs and two block assists.
Senior John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) delivered a kill to make to cut the LMC deficit to one, 12-11, in the second set.
EC's Neal Stanley chipped in with a kill to push the Flying Fleet lead to four, 20-16.
The Bobcats methodically clawed back into it while a Ramirez and Josh Cothron (Bradenton, Fla.) block knotted it at 23.
Harpenau tied it at 24 with one of his team-high 24 kills. However, the Flying Fleet claimed the next two points to knot the bout at one set each.
Harpenau swung at an impressive .349 clip and led both teams with eight block assists.
The senior would continue his solid play with a trio of kills to fuel a 7-1 run while LMC held a 15-11 lead in the third.
EC bounced back with a 9-2 run while Roberto Perez Vargas added two of his match-high 25 kills, forcing a LMC timeout.
The Flying Fleet would hold the Bobcats at arm's length to win the third.
Much like the previous three sets, LMC grabbed an 11-7 lead.
A Nathan Camnitz kill tied it at 19. EC used a 5-1 run to put LMC on the brink, 24-20.
Coach Dave Schmidlin's squad proved resilient by tying it at 24 following a kill and block assist from Lucas.
EC would take the next two points while hitting at a .371 clip.
Ramirez finished the game with 47 assists and a solo block.
The Bobcats will face Mount Olive Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a Conference Carolinas Quarterfinals matchup in Mount Olive, N.C.
- LMC -