SPRINGFIELD, Ohio.—The Fontbonne University men's volleyball team picked up two more wins on the season as they swept past Wittenberg in straight sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-14) and won a five set (25-16, 25-22, 26-28, 23-25, 15-10) thriller over Hiram on Saturday afternoon.
Fontbonne 3 Wittenberg 0
Coming into the outing against the Tigers (11-8; 2-2 MCVL), Emir Hadzisalihovic had 183 career blocks which tied the all-time record. Against Wittenberg, he compiled to block assists, giving him 185 in his career and he now sits atop the record books.
The Griffins (10-3; 4-1 MCVL), finished with 28 kills and just seven errors for a .256 hitting percentage in the victory. They also totaled 14 block assists.
Individually, Stephen Lendy led with his match-high nine kills and .300 hitting percentage. Mark Klusman filled up the stat sheet, ending with seven kills, five digs and four block assists. Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell handed out 22 assists and led them in the digs department, having 11.
Wittenberg, meanwhile, had 31 kills, but committed 32 errors for a -.009 hitting percentage. Justin Luby paced with nine kills, while Ross Russell totaled a match-high 26 assists. Troy Boucher paced them defensively with a match-high 12 digs.
Out of the gate in the first, the Griffins took an 8-2 lead, but the Tigers went on a 12-2 run to gain the advantage back, 14-10.
Later, the Griffins trailed 16-14, but a 6-0 run gave them a 19-16 lead and they never relinquished it from there, going on for the 25-22 win on Klusman's solo block.
In the second set, the Griffins took a 13-6 lead on Sebastian Roca's service ace. The team rolled on from there, totaling 10 kills in the second set and went on for the 25-15 victory.
In the third, it was all Fontbonne once again. The team grabbed a 10-6 lead on a Titans service error. They stretched its lead out to 18-9 on Braden Woolsey's kill and cruised to the 25-14 set and match win.
Fontbonne 3 Hiram 2
Against the Terriers, the Griffins finished with 50 kills, but the story was its defensive effort. The team set new season-high marks in digs (71) and blocks (14), including totaling 20 block assists.
Hiram ended with 52 kills and 67 digs, but had its struggles from the service line, totaling 24 errors. Cory Fischer led a trio of hitters with a match-high 14 kills. Alex Andrzejewski and Andrew Gard contributed 13 kills each. Setter Jake Lininger filed away 27 assists, while Justin English had a team-high 22 digs.
In the first set, the Griffins took a dominating 17-9 lead on Hadzisalihovic's kill. That was more than enough for Fontbonne as they went on for the 25-16 win.
The quick start carried over into the second as a Hiram service error gave Fontbonne an 11-5 lead. Later in the set, the Terriers trimmed the deficit down to 23-20 on a solo block from Henry Schwendler, though a kill from Stephen Lendy and a Hiram attack error pushed the Griffins to the 25-22 victory.
It was a point-for-point outing for the first time on the day in the third. The two teams eventually met-up at 18-18 on Grant Garza's kill. The Terriers rattled off a 3-0 run to take a 21-18 advantage, but the Griffins narrowed it back down to 22-21 on Nate Paasch's kill.
The Griffins eventually got the lead back at 25-24 on Garza's solo block, but Hiram accounted for the next two points and needed just one more to force a fourth set. James Sauermann kept the Griffins in it with a kill, but a service error and a kill from Cory Fischer gave Hiram the 28-26 win.
In the fourth set, the Griffins were looking to put away the Terriers early as Fontbonne took a 15-10 lead on Sauermann's kill. The team still led 19-14, however, a 6-1 run by Hiram tied the set up at 20-20.
The set was all square at 23-23, but the Terriers forced a fifth and final set, winning 25-23 on two Griffin attack errors.
In the finale, the Griffins this time were able to put away Hiram. Consecutive kills from Stephen Lendy and Woolsey put them ahead 10-6. The Terriers clawed its way back in it at 11-10, but Fontbonne closed out on a 4-0 run, capped off by back-to-back service aces from Lendy to make it a 15-10 final.
The Griffins return to the court next Tuesday night at Greenville. The team will take on Missouri Baptist JV team at 6 p.m., followed by facing the host Panthers at 8 p.m.
Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's volleyball team.