The Limestone College men's volleyball team rallied from a one-set-to-none deficit en route to a 3-1 win over Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday evening. Limestone (14-9, 7-2 CC) won the
match by scores of 23-25, 25-20, 25-19, and 25-23, holding Lees-McRae (10-9, 4-5 CC) to a hitting percentage of .136 while attacking at a .260 clip of its own. The Saints posted 54 kills, 49 digs, and nine blocks, as the Bobcats tallied 41 smashes, dug out 41 attacks, and recorded nine stuffs.
John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) paced the Bobcats with 11 kills, as Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) added nine smashes. Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) posted a match-high 17 digs, while Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) chipped in 33 assists and five kills. Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) and Lucas each recorded a team-high three blocks.
Kevin Hart led the way for Limestone with a double-double, recording a match-high 13 kills to go along with 11 digs. Andrew Pile posted a double-double of his own with 44 assists and 10 digs, as Eric Zaun chipped in 12 kills. Joe Gilliland added 14 digs, while Scott Warren recorded five blocks (two solo, three assists).
The first set proved to be a tightly-contested affair, with Limestone taking a 14-12 lead on back-to-back Bobcat miscues to cap a 3-0 spurt. After Lees-McRae trimmed the margin to 16-15 and Limestone answered with three straight points to push the lead to 19-15, the Bobcats countered with an 8-3 run to claim a narrow 23-22 advantage following a Ramirez kill. The Bobcats would cap the set on a solo block by Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Limestone responded in the second, taking an early 12-6 lead following a service ace by Pile before stretching the margin to 20-12 on the heels of a 6-3 spurt. The Bobcats would answer with an 8-4 run, trimming the lead to 24-20 and fighting off two set points before Zaun capped the frame with a kill to even the match at 1-1.
The Bobcats controlled play early in the third set, taking a 10-7 lead on a Lucas kill. After Limestone answered with a 3-1 spurt and the Bobcats countered with back-to-back points, the Saints launched a 10-5 run to claim a 20-18 advantage on a solo block by Warren. The Saints then closed out the set with a 5-1 spurt to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Limestone would carry the momentum into the fourth, taking an early 12-8 lead following a Zaun kill before the Bobcats evened the tally at 12-12 on a block by Lucas and Jones to cap a 4-0 spurt. The Saints answered with a 7-4 run, claiming a 19-16 advantage following a Bobcat miscue before Lees-McRae trimmed the margin to 20-18 on a kill by Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.).
The Saints would answer with three of the next five points, taking a 23-20 lead on a Pile kill. Lees-McRae fought back, cutting the advantage to 23-22 following a Saint miscue before Hart tallied two of the next three points to close out the set and the match for Limestone.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday when the Bobcats host King College in their regular season finale at 7 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium. The Bobcats will celebrate their senior day prior to the match's opening serve.
Photo Courtesy: John Lucas, LMC Athletics