Sophomore Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) posted a match- and season-high 22 kills to lead the Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over California Baptist University on Friday evening on the first day of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic on the campus of Springfield College.
Lees-McRae (4-3) won the match by scores of 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, and 26-24 en route to its
third-straight victory, while holding Cal Baptist (2-9) to a .171 clip on the attack. The Bobcats posted a hitting percentage of .152 on the night, recording 14 blocks and 37 digs as the Lancers notched 14.5 stuffs while digging out 39 LMC attacks.
Ribas paced the Bobcats with 22 kills and a .277 hitting percentage, as Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.) and John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) added eight smashes each. Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) chipped in a match-high 46 assists, as Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) added seven blocks. Lucas posted six stuffs of his own, as Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) notched a match-high 13 digs.
Corey Bates led the way for Cal Baptist with 12 kills on 24 swings, as Daniel Freitas added nine smashes and seven digs. Connor Metcalfe chipped in 32 assists and seven digs, while Kristopher Johnson added a match-high four blocks.
The Lancers jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the first set before the Bobcats responded, launching a 16-9 run to claim a 22-19 advantage on a Ribas kill. After Cal Baptist evened the tally at 22-22 on a block by Johnson and Freitas, the Bobcats closed out the 25-23 win on a stuff by Lucas and Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Cal Baptist answered in the second, opening a 16-11 advantage on a smash by Garet Kreutziger. After the Bobcats trimmed the margin to 17-16 with a 5-1 spurt that was capped by a Harpenau service ace, the Lancers countered with an 8-2 run to close out the set on a Bates kill and even the match at 1-1.
The Bobcats responded in the third set, taking a 17-13 lead on a Jones ace following a 3-0 spurt. Lees-McRae would push the margin to 21-16 on a Lancer miscue before Cal Baptist answered with a 5-3 spurt, cutting the lead to 24-21 on a block by Metcalfe, Kreutziger, and Freitas. The Bobcats then took the set and a 2-1 lead in the match on a Lancer service error.
Cal Baptist took control early in the fourth, opening a 13-6 lead following a trio of miscues by the Bobcats. Lees-McRae would respond with a 9-2 run, evening the tally at 15-15 on a kill by Jones. Neither team would take more than a two-point lead over the remainder of the set, with the Bobcats snatching a 24-22 lead on a Ribas kill before the Lancers evened the tally at 24-24 with a smash by Bates. The Bobcats answered the call on the next two points, registering a pair of blocks to take the set and the match.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday evening when the Bobcats square off against the winner of Springfield and University of California at Santa Cruz in the championship match of the 2012 Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic at 8 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Jose Ribas, LMC Athletics