MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Noel Garcia recorded a match-high 18 kills and Jose Lanier served five of Mount Olive’s 14 aces as the Trojans defeated Pfeiffer 30-24, 30-23, 31-29 in Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball Thursday at Kornegay Arena. The match was Mount Olive’s season opener and was also the Trojans’ first-ever conference match. Men’s volleyball is in its first year as an emerging sport in Conference Carolinas.
Lanier served an ace on the opening point of the match and Mount Olive (1-0 overall, 1-0 Conference Carolinas) built an 18-10 lead after a kill by freshman Adam Miracle. Pfeiffer (2-3, 0-1) got as close as 28-24, but Lanier and Chrstiaan Rombaut combined on a block at set point to give the Trojans the first set.
A Pfeiffer service error gave Mount Olive a 5-4 lead in the second set and the Trojans led the rest of the way. Miracle’s ace gave Mount Olive a 15-10 lead and the margin never fell below three points. Kills by Rombaut, Lanier and Garcia sparked a late 6-2 run to give Mount Olive a 28-21 lead. Miracle’s kill on set point gave the Trojans a two-set advantage.
Pfeiffer broke a 4-4 tie in the third set on a kill by Michael Dhalle and an ace by Eric Edelman. Mount Olive rallied to take a three-point lead as Rombaut had four kills during a 6-1 Trojan run. Mount Olive led 17-13 after Garcia’s third ace of the night, but Kyle Mariano’s ace capped a Falcon rally and tied the set 21-21.
The set was tied two more times before Dhalle’s kill put Pfeiffer on top 27-26. Mount Olive then sandwiched two Rombaut kills around a kill by Garcia to put the Trojans within a point of a win. But Pfeiffer saved two match points to stay in the match. A service error prevented the Falcons from regaining the lead and Rombaut closed out the match with his 10th kill of the set and 15th of the match.
Miracle, who played only the first two sets, finished with 11 kills in his collegiate debut. Alex Hoekstra recorded 53 assists for the Trojans, while Felix Reimundo finished with eight digs. Camilo Guerci had three blocks for the Trojans. Mount Olive’s 14 aces were only two shy of matching a school record.
Dhalle and Micah Bortner led Pfeiffer with 10 kills apiece. Dhalle had seven kills and no errors in nine attempts in the third set. Evan Fullerton recorded 28 assists, while Mark Hess had seven digs. Pfeiffer is in its first year of men’s volleyball.
Mount Olive was scheduled to start its season last weekend with a pair of home matches against King and Eastern Mennonite, but the winter storm postponed both contests. Make-up dates have not yet been announced.
Mount Olive is off until February 13 when the Trojans travel to Banner Elk, N.C., to take on Lees-McRae in a Conference Carolinas match-up. The two teams split their two matches last season, each winning on its homecourt. Match time is 3 p.m. Pfeiffer plays host to the Lucky Dog Invite February 12-14.