Third-Seeded Trojans Advance Past Lees-McRae In Opening Round Of Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament

Third-Seeded Trojans Advance Past Lees-McRae In Opening Round Of Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament

Steven Cruse recorded a match-high 21 kills and Quaid Marin served four of University of Mount Olive's 12 aces as the third-seeded Trojans held off No. 6 seed Lees-McRae 25-14, 25-18, 21-25, 25-21 in the first round of the 2014 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Tournament Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. The win advances the Trojans to the semifinal round Saturday at No. 2 seed Pfeiffer.

Mount Olive (14-11) appeared to be on its way to a three-set win after winning the opening set by double digits and building a 10-point lead in the second set. Marin served three consecutive aces as the Trojans recorded six aces in the second set alone.

Lees-McRae (12-16) rallied in the third set as the Bobcats rallied from a four-point deficit and built a five-point lead.

The fourth set saw 10 ties until a Lees-McRae service error gave Mount Olive an 11-10 lead and put the Trojans ahead to stay. The lead grew to 17-13 after a pair of kills by Angel Dache, followed by kills by Cruse and Garrett Dimm.

Lees-McRae cut the margin to one after Trojan errors on three consecutive points. Mount Olive rebounded and extended the lead to 22-18 after kills by Cruse and Mike Mann. The Bobcats got as close as two points after a Matt Harpeneau kill, but Cruse's kill on match point sealed the win.

Cruse recorded a .533 hitting percentage with only five errors in 30 attempts. Dache and Dimm added 11 kills apiece, while Mann had eight kills and no errors in 11 attempts to go with a team-high four blocks. Marin tallied 53 assists as the Trojans compiled a .356 team hitting percentage.

Harpeneau led Lees-McRae with 14 kills, while John Lucas had a match-high six blocks. Randy Ramirez finished with 36 assists and four blocks.

Mount Olive and Pfeiffer split their two regular season meetings, each team winning at home. The two teams are facing each other in the conference tournament since the Trojans fell to the Falcons in the championship match in 2012.

Saturday's winner advances to the championship match against the winner of the other semifinal between top-seeded Erskine and No. 5 seed Barton, which defeated fourth-seeded Limestone Wednesday. The title match is slated for next Wednesday, with the winner earning Conference Carolinas' first-ever NCAA Men's Volleyball Tournament bid.

Match time for both of Saturday's semifinals is 7 p.m.