St. Louis, Mo. - Fontbonne University men's volleyball opened conference play today by hosting Loras College in their 2017 home opener. The Griffins dominated the third set in their 25-23, 25-22, 25-16 sweep of the Duhawks. The Griffins are now 4-1 overall as Loras drops to 3-2.
Fontbonne battled back in the first set after being down 21-19. Head coach Mike Haston called a timeout and rallied the Griffins to take a 22-21 lead, forcing Loras to call a timeout. Loras successfully placed a point on the scoreboard immediately but Fontbonne answered with two points. Loras' David Point averted the set-winning point only briefly on a kill. Fontbonne took the first set after a Duhawk service error.
Second-set play was back and forth with 10 ties in the long set until Fontbonne took a 21-18 lead. Trailing 9-11, Fontbonne posted three straight points to take the lead back from the very beginning of the game. Junior Stephen Lendy's hard serve was dug out by Loras, but immediately set back to the Griffins' side where middle hitter Emir Hadzisalihovic jumped up and slammed the ball down to give Fontbonne their first lead since they led 3-1. After Loras cut the lead to two (22-20), the Griffins finished out the set 25-22.
Fontbonne blasted their way to victory by opening the third set on an eight-point run. Fans were pumped as freshman Kyler van Rossom-O'Connell served the ball. TJ Vorva got the Griffins rolling with two kills, an assist and a solo block to give Fontbonne a 4-0 lead. Kyler then helped himself with a kill of his own from Brendon Schwartze before Fontbonne garnered three free points from Loras' errors. The Griffins held as much as an 11-point lead, which happened twice. The first time, Fontbonne took an 18-7 lead on a crazy play that involved great defensive efforts. Freshman Zach Rothstein came up with the first big dig followed with a dig by Lendy's foot which had to be chased down by the setter Kyler. The final dig of the play came from Schwartze which allowed Lendy to finish with the kill.
Schwartze finished the game with the team-high 11 kills while James Sauermann recorded a season-high .750 kill percentage. The middle hitter recorded seven kills on eight attempts with only one error. As a team the Griffins hit .448 in the third set and .326 overall with seven total blocks. Sauermann recorded one solo block and three assists while Hadzisalihovic, Vorva and Tony Pitaro each tallied a solo block each. Rothstein recorded 10 digs in the win.
Fontbonne hosts Benedictine College Sunday at 1 p.m.