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Men's Volleyball Captures First-Ever MCVL Tournament Championship, Earns Bid To NCAA Tournament

Photo credit: Jim Naprstek
Photo credit: Jim Naprstek

KENOSHA, Wis.—The Fontbonne University men's volleyball team earned its first MCVL Tournament Title on Saturday and punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament after a five-set thrilling win over No. 1 Carthage.

Score: Fontbonne 3, Carthage 2 (14-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 15-8)

Location: Kenosha, Wis.

Records: Fontbonne 25-2, Carthage 23-2

How It Happened

In the first set, the Red Men opened with a 14-7 lead on a Fontbonne attack error. It was all Carthage the rest of the way with the team taking the opener, 25-14.

In the second set, the two teams went back-and-forth until the Griffins grabbed a 13-12 lead on a block assist from Braden Woolsey and Mark Klusman. The team continued to maintain its marginal lead the rest of the way and fended off the Red Men for the 25-23 win on Brendon Schwartze's kill.

It was another close contest in the third set, but the Griffins were up 15-13 on a kill from Klusman. The Red Men eventually tied it at 15-15 and extended its lead out to 22-19 on a Fontbonne service error.

The Griffins narrowed the deficit down to 22-20 on Schwartze's kill, though the Red Men collected the final three points for the 25-20 victory.

In the fourth, it was all square at 13-13 up until the Griffins went on a 4-0 run to take a 17-13 lead on a Carthage attack error.

Later, a bad set by Carthage gave Fontbonne a 20-15 lead, however, the Red Men responded with a 6-1 run to even it up at 21-21. Back-to-back kills from Emir Hadzisalihovic gave the Griffins some breathing room at 23-21.

That proved to be more than enough with the team going on for the 25-22 win to force a fifth and final set.

With momentum on its side, the Griffins carried that over into the fifth as in the race eight Fontbonne grabbed an 8-3 lead on Schwartze's kill. The team never let Carthage back into the match as they won 15-8 on Braden Woolsey's kill.

Inside The Numbers

  • The Griffins finished with 52 kills and a .128 hitting percentage.
  • The team got it done defensively with a season-high 70 digs, 16 block assists, and 12 blocks overall.
  • Carthage concluded with 60 kills and a .168 hitting percentage.
  • The Red Men ended with 69 digs and 16 block assists.

Fontbonne Leaders

  • Klusman led with 12 kills and a team-high 15 digs. It was Klusman's third double-double on the year.
  • Schwartze added 11 kills and 13 digs for his second double-double on the year.
  • Josh Farley concluded with 11 kills and a .226 hitting percentage.
  • Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell handed out 44 assists and 13 digs for his ninth double-double.
  • Zach Rothstein added 14 digs and Cameron Way contributed 10.

Carthage Leaders

  • Evan Walsh and Braeden Waumans each collected a double-double. They both tied with 15 kilils, while Walsh led in the dig department with 17. Waumans added 10.
  • Matt Slivinski finished with 14 kills and Eric Winter finished with 10.
  • Matt Reinsel ended with 53 assists and 10 digs.
  • Blake Arnold led the group defensively with 18 digs.

Up Next

  • The Griffins will now see on Monday morning at 9 a.m., CT to see where and whom they'll play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament next weekend.

Fans make sure to stay updated on throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's volleyball team.

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