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Griffins Open 2019 Campaign With Dominant Wins

Photo credit: Vinnie Lopes
Photo credit: Vinnie Lopes

LEBANON, Tenn.— The Fontbonne University men's volleyball team displayed an impressive performance to start its 2019 season after earning sweeps over Bluefield (25-15, 25-15, 25-21) and Cumberland (25-12, 25-16, 25-20) at the Off The Block Challenge. Head Coach Ryan LeGrand also picked up his first wins at the helm of the men's program.

Fontbonne finished with 82 kills, a .352 hitting percentage, 58 digs, and 11 blocks in the two wins. Josh Farley led with a team-high 24 kills and a .415 hitting percentage. Brendon Schwartze concluded with 19 kills, while Cameron Graves (12), Braden Woolsey (10), and Emir Hadzisalihovic (10), were the final players in double-figures.

Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell dished out 68 assists and Zach Rothstein led them defensively with 18 digs.

Fontbonne 3 Bluefield 0

The Griffins (2-0), opened with a dominant win over the Bluefield Rams to start the Off The Block Challenge.

The team posted 46 kills, a .351 hitting percentage, 43 assists, and 31 digs. Individually, Farley broke out with a career-high 13 kills and five errors for a .320 hitting percentage.

Hadzisalihovic, Schwartze, and newcomer Graves all totaled eight kills each. Setter Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell was busy dishing out a career-high 39 assists in a three-set match and ended up second on the team with nine digs.

Reigning MCVL Defensive Player of the Year, Rothstein, led the group with a match-high 10 digs.

The Rams (1-1), rounded out with 26 kills and a .127 hitting percentage. Alberto Chiaparini concluded with a team-high 12 kills and .310 hitting percentage. Chaz Franqui contributed 23 assists and led them defensively with six digs.

After trailing 3-1 in the first set, the Griffins went on an impressive 11-0 run to take the 12-3 advantage. Later, a kill from Farley and a service aces from Braden Woolsey gave them the 20-11 lead. It was all Fontbonne the rest of the way as they went on for the 25-15 win.

In the second set, a kill from Hadzisalihovic put the Griffins out front 10-6. A kill from Carleek Owens trimmed the Fontbonne lead down to 15-12, however, the Griffins closed out the set on a 10-3 run as Hadzisalihovic closed out it on a kill and a service ace for the 25-15 victory.

It was an impressive display offensively for Fontbonne in the second with 15 kills and three errors on 20 attempts for a match-high .600 hitting percentage.

In the third, consecutive kills from Schwartze and Farley gave Fontbonne the early 11-7 lead. The Rams kept battling as they trailed 15-14 on Chiaparini's kill.

Later, the Griffins still led by one (20-19), but a quick 3-0 run on kills from Farley and Hadzisalihovic (two) gave Fontbonne the breathing room they needed hang on for the 25-21 set and match win.

Fontbonne 3 Cumberland 0

In game two, the Griffins won the Battle for the Cox Team House Keys after totaling 36 kills, a season-high .353 hitting percentage, and 11 block assists.

Farley and Schwartze tied with a match-high 11 kills each. Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell led them in the assist department with 29 and Rothstein finished with eight digs.

The Phoenix (0-2), rounded out the outing with 28 kills and 24 errors for a .045 hitting percentage. Arthur Amorim and Stephan Davis tied with a team-high seven kills each.

After an attack error by Fontbonne that put Cumberland down 9-7, the Griffins got going with a 7-0 run to take a comfortable 16-7 lead. The team was able to go on for the 25-12 win.

In the second set, the Phoenix took a 7-4 lead on a service error by Fontbonne. The Griffins eventually got the lead back on Schwartze's kill. Cumberland stayed with the Griffins later in the set as a kill from Amorim trimmed the deficit to 17-16.

However, Fontbonne closed it out on an 8-0 run, winning 25-16 on consecutive kills from Farley and Schwartze. The Griffins limited its mistakes in the second with 11 kills and three errors on 18 attempts for a match-high .444 hitting percentage.

In the third, it was Fontbonne this time around taking the early 8-2 lead. The Phoenix responded by going on a 10-4 run to tie it up at 12-12 on Amorim's kill.

Fontbonne gained some breathing room later in the set on Graves kill to put them ahead 19-15. That proved to be more than enough for the Griffins to go on for the 25-20 set and match win on Farley's kill.

The team returns to action on February 1st when they'll visit Marian (Wis.). First-service at 7 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.

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