Houston Callaway (Thurmond, N.C.) posted six kills, including the match point, to celebrate his senior night and lead the Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team to a straight-set sweep of King College in
Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday evening in Williams Gymnasium. Lees-McRae (17-11, 10-6 CC) won the match by scores of 25-15, 25-16, and 25-23, rallying from a 15-8 deficit in the third set for the victory. The Bobcats posted a hitting percentage of .325 in the contest, while holding King (10-18, 5-11 CC) to a .160 clip on the attack. Lees-McRae tallied 38 kills, eight blocks, and five aces, as the Tornado record 27 smashes and four stuffs.
Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paced the Bobcats with nine kills and no errors on 18 swings, as John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) added eight and seven smashes, respectively. Callaway chipped in six kills and a match-high four block assists to celebrate his final regular season contest in Williams Gymnasium.
Ramirez posted match-highs of 28 assists, four blocks (one solo, three assists), and three aces, while Lucas and Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) each tallied seven digs. Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) added five smashes on six swings to go along with three block assists.
Jeremy Funk and Michael Koebel led the way for King with seven kills each, as Funk and Ashton Hippenstiel posted hitting percentages of .455 and .421, respectively. Hippenstiel added 21 assists, while Stephen Brown recorded a match-high eight digs.
The Bobcats got off to a strong start, opening an early 9-4 lead in the first set on a block by Harpenau and Brady Markle (York, Pa.). Lees-McRae would stretch the advantage to 17-10 following a Lucas smash before widening the margin to 24-14, pushing the Tornado to set point and capping the frame on a smash by Ribas.
Ribas and the Bobcats carried the momentum into the second set, taking an early 12-6 advantage on a Callaway kill before pushing the margin to 20-11 following a dump by Ramirez. The Bobcats would close out the set from there, claiming a commanding 2-0 lead in the match on a Ribas smash.
King responded early in the third, opening the frame with an 11-4 run before the Bobcats countered with three straight points, trimming the margin to 11-7 on a tandem block by Ramirez and Harpenau. The Tornado answered with a 4-1 spurt, widening the gap to 15-8 following a Bobcat miscue.
Lees-McRae battled back with an 11-3 surge, claiming a narrow 19-18 advantage on an attack error by the Tornado. After King countered with a 3-1 spurt to retake the lead at 21-20 following a Koebel smash.
The Bobcats quickly answered with three straight points, opening a 23-21 margin on back-to-back kills by Ramirez before pushing King to match point following a Ribas smash. After Mason Casner countered with a kill for the Tornado, Callaway capped his senior night in style, delivering an emphatic smash to close out the set and the match for the Bobcats.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday when the Bobcats travel to College Station, Pa. to take on No. 12 Penn State University at 7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Houston Callaway, LMC Athletics