ST. LOUIS, Mo.— In front of a capacity crowd, the Fontbonne University men's volleyball team and the Loras Duhawks treated the fans to an absolute thriller leaving it all on the floor. Loras, though came away the key MCVL conference win against the Griffins in five sets (25-19, 26-28, 20-25, 27-25, 13-15).
Fontbonne (19-7; 4-4 MCVL), finished with 53 kills, a .191 hitting percentage, 63 digs, seven solo blocks (season-high) and six block assists.
Individually, Stephen Lendy led with a team and season-high 19 kills. Mark Klusman recorded a double-double with 13 kills and a career-high 15 digs, while Brendon Schwartze was just as successful on both sides of the net with 12 kills and 14 digs.
Loras (12-10; 4-4 MCVL), concluded with 74 kills, a .276 hitting percentage, 71 digs and 14 block assists, all of which overshadowed its 25 service errors.
Mihajlo Gomez was unstoppable on the outside with a match-high 26 kills and .321 hitting percentage. Dylan Ross went step-for-step with Gomez as he added 21 kills and 13 digs.
Setter Alfredo Lopez was all over the floor and dished out a match-high 64 assists. Defensively, Joe Jendra ended with 21 digs.
In the first set, the Griffins and Duhawks met-up at 12-12 on Stephen Lendy's kill. From there it was a point-for-point battle as they were tied up once again at 19-all on Dylan Ross' kill.
However, the Griffins dominated the rest of the way, finishing on a 6-0 run for the 25-19 win on another Stephen Lendy kill.
The battle continued into the second set, though the Griffins led 15-11 on Jendra's service error. The Duhawks answered with a 4-0 run and the Griffins were forced to call a timeout.
Out of the break, the Griffins expanded its lead back out to 20-16, however, after a timeout from Loras they eventually tied it at 23-23 on Jendra's kill.
Loras had set point (26-26), but the Griffins tied it on Stephen Lendy's kill. The Duhawks finished off the set on kills from Ross and Gomez for the 28-26 victory. Loras finished the set with a match-high 20 kills and .405 hitting percentage.
In the third, after the Griffins tied it at 15-15, the Duhawks answered with a 3-0 run to force the Griffins to take a timeout. Fontbonne cut the deficit down to 21-19 on Klusman's kill, however Loras outscored the home team 4-1 the rest of the way, securing the 25-20 win on Austin Kuchenbecker's kill.
Needing a win in the fourth, the Griffins trailed 12-10 but a 4-0 run gave them the two-point lead. They stretched it out to 24-20 on Klusman's kill. The Duhawks crawled back into it and tied the set once more at 25-25.
In the final set, the Duhawks took a 9-5 lead on a block assist from Gomez and Kuchenbecker. Fontbonne got back in it and were down just 10-9 on Stephen Lendy's kill.
Loras eventually had match-point with a 14-11 lead. The Griffins weren't done, though as an attack error and a huge block assist from Kyler van-Rossum-O'Connell and Emir Hadzisalihovic put the scoreboard at 14-13.
On the ensuring service, the Duhwaks put away the game on Ross' kill for the 15-13 set and match win.
Fontbonne looks to bounce back in its regular season finale tomorrow afternoon against Augustana. First-serve at 2 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.