BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Junior Keenan Freitas (Hilo, Hawaii) posted a match-high nine digs, but the Lees-McRae men's volleyball team lost 23-25, 18-25, 24-26, to King (Tenn.) in Conference Carolinas play Wednesday evening at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Tornado (1-4, 1-1 CC) earned their first win of the season after swinging at a .458 clip in the second while Sean Luhmann and Matthew Lychock notched nine kills each. The Bobcats (0-3, 0-3) saw freshman Hector Serviat (Miami, Fla.) and junior John Sobel (Holbrook, N.Y.) amass nine kills apiece.
LMC went on a 6-2 run to break a 5-all tie in the opening frame after a pair of block assists from Drew Blecher (York, Pa.) and a service ace from Rudy Klaas (Dakar, Senegal).
King responded and eventually took a 17-16 lead after a trio of players notched a kill and a block from Nick Drooker and Lychock.
The set would remain tight, but a kill from the Tornado's Jon Wheaton and a Bobcat attack error gave the visitors the edge late.
Wheaton was one of five King players with five kills or more.
The Tornado jumped out a 15-11 lead in the second set with effective hitting.
Serviat and junior Mark Shayka (Hamilton, Va.) combined for three kills to cut the deficit to two.
King extended the lead to six with a pair of kills from Jeff Sprayberry.
Freshman Jack Frank (Tampa, Fla.) earned his first collegiate block assist to make it 23-18.
King responded with the two final points to claim the set.
Both teams exchanged 5-0 runs in the third set. Shayka stopped King's run with a kill before a Luhmann error gave LMC a slim 12-11 lead.
The Tornado rattled off a 7-4 run to grab an 18-15 advantage.
The Bobcats took a 24-21 lead after shaky play from King's offense, but, the Tornado ripped off a 5-0 run to conclude play.
Blecher dished out 20 assists and six digs.
Coach Henry Chuang's squad travels to Belmont Abbey Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. for a CC battle in Belmont, N.C.