Photo Courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team opened conference play with a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19) loss to King (TN) University Wednesday evening at Williams Gymnasium. LMC's record moves to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in league play with the loss, while the Tornado improve to 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference action.
The Bobcats came out swinging in the opening set hitting .393 as a team. Senior John Sobel posted seven kills on nine attempts to lead the Bobcat attack. Despite the hot-hitting by Lees-McRae, it was doomed by eight service errors in the stanza. The miscues from the service line cost the Bobcats the first set, 25-21.
Lees-McRae kept the pressure on the Tornado in the second hitting a match-high .400 on 25 attempts. King could not keep up with the Bobcats in this set, however, as LMC went on to take the second frame by a score of 25-22. Sobel and Wes Rogman both notched four kills in the frame, while Reto Pfund dished out 12 assists as well.
The offense that was hitting on all cylinders in the first two frames slowed up considerably in the third set. LMC hit just .045 with seven attack errors, while King put forth a match-best .435 attack percentage with 14 kills to regain the lead in the match with a 25-17 set victory.
After the two teams traded the first four points of the fourth set, King's Sean Luhmann notched a kill to give his team a 3-2 lead. That lead was never surrendered as the Tornado went on an 8-3 run in the middle of the stanza to build up their advantage before finishing off the set and match by a 25-19 score.
Sobel finished the match with a team-best 17 kills on 33 attempts with just seven attack errors (.303 hitting percentage). Setting up Sobel for the majority of those kills was Pfund who finished with a career-high 44 assists. Defensively, senior Keenan Freitas paced LMC with 12 digs on the night.
Next up for Lees-McRae will be a road match at Lincoln Memorial. The Bobcats swept the Railsplitters earlier this season at Williams Gymnasium. First serve is set for 7 p.m. from Harrogate, Tenn.