The Lees-McRae men's volleyball team split a pair of matches on the opening night of the Lindenwood Classic while winning a five-set thriller against Quincy in the opener, before losing 3-0 to host-Lindenwood in the night cap Friday evening at Robert F. Hyland Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
In the opening match, the Bobcats (3-2) rallied from a set deficit to claim their second consecutive five-set victory. LMC found itself in a close battle while consecutive kills from Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) notched the first set at 19. However, the Hawks used two service aces to cap off a 6-3 run to claim the first set, 25-22.
The Bobcats trailed only once in the second set and stretched their lead to 19-13 following a pair of attack errors. QU (3-4) would cut the deficit to four after a Jack Gamache kill, but a Brady Markle (York, Pa.) kill and Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) service ace clinched the set second, 25-17.
The third set replicated the second while Markle impressed with a stretch of three kills in six points and Ramirez drilled another ace when the Bobcats ran out to a 21-10 lead. The Hawks would claw back, but Harpenau used a couple of kills to give LMC the set, 25-17.
An Ian Lawson kill gave QU an early 17-10 fourth set advantage, but a Mark Shayka (Hamilton, Va.) kill kept it close, 21-17. The Hawks would keep LMC at arm's length and force a deciding set.
LMC used a 10-5 run in the fifth set on its way to claiming the winner-take-all, 15-10. Ramirez paced the squad with 48 assists while Markle and Harpenau led the team in kills with 25 and 17, respectively. LMC hit a remarkable .667 in the final set while holding QU to .154 in the fifth and .000 in the second set.
On the backend of the double dip, Lindenwood (4-2) hit better than .355 in all three sets on its way to the sweep. The opening set proved to be a see-saw battle while both teams were notched at 19 following a Markle kill.
Fending off match point and trailing 24-23, Markle delivered consecutive aces to force extra points, but a pair of Bobcat attack errors proved costly while dropping the first set, 28-26.
Tied at 6, the Lions used a 10-5 run to create breathing room. A Colin Hackworth kill pushed the lead to eight, 20-12, while LU took the second set with ease, 25-15. In the final set, senior John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) delivered a service ace to shave the deficit to three, 13-10.
However, the Lions responded with an 8-4 run to stretch their lead to seven, while never turning back on their way to a 25-17 win. Harpenau led the team in kills with 11 while senior Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) tallied seven digs.
The Bobcats get little time to rest as they are back in action tomorrow morning to face McKendree at 10 a.m. to wrap up the Classic.
Photo Courtesy: Matt Harpenau, LMC Athletics