The top-seeded Pfeiffer University men's volleyball team won the first two sets, and held on for a hard-fought 3-1 victory over fourth-seeded Lees-McRae College on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament. Pfeiffer (20-6) won the match by scores
of 25-23, 25-22, 19-25, and 25-21, holding Lees-McRae (11-10) to a .151 clip on the attack while posting a .228 hitting percentage of its own. The Falcons tallied 56 kills, 42 digs and seven blocks on the afternoon, while the Bobcats posted 37 smashes, dug out 22 attacks, and recorded 12 stuffs.
Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paced the Bobcats with 12 kills, as John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) tallied nine smashes. Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) and Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) posted six and five blocks, respectively, while Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) chipped in 36 assists and four block assists.
Quentin Moore led the way for Pfeiffer with a match-high 17 kills, as Michael McLaughlin and Caleb Brophy each posted 11 smashes. David Specian nearly tallied a double-double with 51 assists and nine digs, as Mark Hess and Brophy added 11 and nine digs, respectively.
The first set proved to be a tightly contested affair, with Lees-McRae capitalizing on a pair of Falcon errors to even the tally at 15-15 midway through the frame. The teams would battle back and forth over the remainder of the set, neither opening more than a two-point lead as Pfeiffer closed out the frame with a 3-1 spurt, taking a 1-0 lead in the match following a Brophy kill.
Lees-McRae answered in the second, opening a 15-11 lead on a Jones service ace before Pfeiffer responded with a 6-2 run, evening the tally at 17-17 following a Bobcat miscue. The Falcons continued to dictate play over the remainder of the frame, closing out the set with an 8-5 spurt to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set proved to be much like the first until the Bobcats took control with a 10-3 run, turning a 14-13 deficit into a 23-17 advantage following a Falcon miscue. Lees-McRae then closed out the set on kills by Harpenau and Ribas to halve the margin to 2-1 and force a fourth set.
Pfeiffer rallied from an early 9-6 deficit in the fourth, launching an 8-5 run to even the tally at 14-14 on the heels of a 4-0 spurt. The Falcons would continue to control the tempo, taking a 20-16 advantage following a Brophy kill to cap a 6-2 run. Lees-McRae battled back, trimming the margin to 23-21 with a 4-0 spurt before Pfeiffer shut the door, closing out the set and the match on a Specian service ace.
Lees-McRae is expected to return 12 letter-winners from this year's squad, including rising juniors Ramirez, Ribas, Lucas, Harpenau, Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico), Kevin Morrison (Norfolk, Va.), Chris Flood (Louisville, Ky.), Dylan Kembre (West Chester, Ohio), Sam Sheers (Centerville, Ohio), and Josh Cothron (Bradenton, Fla.).
Photo Courtesy; Jose Ribas, LMC Athletics