Senior Matt Harpenau (21) and sophomore Brady Markle (20) registered at least 20 kills while LMC held off a furious rally to win an exciting five-set bout against Conference Carolina foe Pfeiffer, 25-21, 25-19,
18-25, 23-25, 20-18 Friday afternoon at Merner Gym in Misenheimer, N.C.
The Bobcats (6-4, 2-2 CC) won their third five-set match of the season and fended off two match points after trailing 13-10 in the final set. The Falcons (4-6, 3-2) had three players notch at least 11 kills and hit a remarkable .500 in the third set.
LMC led wire-to-wire in the opener and took a 9-4 lead following a Markle (York, Pa.) kill. The Bobcats kept PU at bay as their lead balloon to six, 18-12 after consecutive kills from the sophomore.
The Falcons' David Specian sliced the deficit to four, 21-17, with a kill of his own, but LMC received a key block from Rudy Klaas (Dakar, Senegal) to distance itself in the opener, 25-21.
A pair of Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) kills knotted the second set at 11. LMC responded with an 11-4 run that was capped off by a service error from PU's Sonny Hirini. Harpenau chimed in with a kill, a solo block and block assist during the spurt.
Both squads would exchange kills before a Bobcat ace secured the second set, 25-19.
Neither team was efficient in the set while both failed to hit better than .115.
Pfeiffer turned the tide with a 6-2 run in the middle of the third to for a LMC timeout while holding a 19-13 lead.
The Falcons spread the ball wisely while seven players earned a kill in the 25-18 victory.
The Bobcats' John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) smashed one of his six kills to tie the fourth at 10.
Pfeiffer responded with a 6-2 run, backed by a Hirini kill.
LMC would claw back into it and would cut the deficit to one on four occasions, but could never reclaim the lead and fell 25-23, forcing the winner-take-all.
The fifth set provided much entertainment with 11 ties, while neither squad led by more than three.
Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) skillfully placed one of his four kills to swing the momentum, despite the Bobcats trailing by two, 13-11.
The Falcons looked poised to complete the comeback, but Harpenau drilled three kills, each while LMC was facing match point.
The duo of Kevin Morrison (Norfolk, Va.) and Harpenau sealed the victory with a kill each.
Ramirez dished out 49 assists while Harpenau (11) and Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) (10) recorded double digit digs. The Bobcats registered 16 total team blocks.
PU's Michael Brewer and Hirini chipped in with 17 kills each while David Specian delivered 54 assists.
LMC steps out of conference to host Coker Saturday at 2 p.m. at Williams Gymnasium.
Photo Courtesy: Matt Harpenau, LMC Athletics