Lindenwood men’s volleyball goes 1-1 over the weekend

Men%27s+volleyball+players+%28from+left%29+A.J.+Lewis%2C+Elijah+Tabuarua%2C+and+Michael+Jennings+celebrate+victory+over+Saint+Francis+on+Jan.+17%2C+2020

Dominic Hoscher

Men’s volleyball players (from left) A.J. Lewis, Elijah Tabuarua, and Michael Jennings celebrate victory over Saint Francis on Jan. 17, 2020

Dominic Hoscher, Sports Editor

In their second weekend at home to kick off the season, the Lindenwood Lions took one of two, with a victory over the Saint Francis Red Flash on Friday night, then falling short against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders on Saturday.

Lindenwood was dominant in the early going on Friday, scoring the first five points of the match to get out in front of Saint Francis. Minutes later, the Lions would go on to have a 12-5 lead after an ace off of a Diego Negron serve, forcing the Red Flash to use their first timeout. They would carry the momentum out of the break as well, earning the final three points of the first set and taking it 25-13.  

It was a much closer second set, with the Red Flash bouncing back in a big way. It was back-and-forth for much of the set, with both teams refusing to let the other go on a run of longer than three consecutive points. That was until the later stages of the second, when confidence started to be shown by the visitors.  

Saint Francis went on a 6-0 run near the end of the set to come back against the Lions. Following a timeout, Lindenwood was able to grab back-to-back points, but the Red Flash ended that run with one of their own, scoring the final three points of the set. Saint Francis won the second set 25-21, leveling the match at 1-1. 

That would do it for the success of the Red Flash Friday evening, as Lindenwood put it all together in the final two sets. In a close third, the Lions were aided by a Sam Schindler kill and Negron ace in the later stages to secure a 25-23 victory in the penultimate set. 

In the fourth, Saint Francis had more kills than Lindenwood (12-8) but that wouldn’t be enough. After suffering seven errors off of serves, the Red Flash couldn’t find a way to bounce back against the Lions in the fourth set. A.J. Lewis, who had a team-high 14 kills on the night, finished Saint Francis on the final play of the match to give the Lions a 25-21 victory in the set, and a 4-1 win on the night.

Kayla Drake
Outside hitter Jeremy Kirch braces to block the Highlanders’ return hit. The Lions lost all three sets to the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Jan. 18.

Saturday night, the Highlanders would come into Hyland Arena and prove to be too much for the Lions to handle.

Lindenwood got off to yet another strong start, grabbing an early 3-0 lead in the first set over NJIT. The remainder of the set saw both sides contest with one another, but it was the Lions that pulled away in the later stages. The home team went on a 6-1 run to close out the set, giving the Lions an early 1-0 lead in the match.

It was all Highlanders after this, however, starting off their winning run in the second set with a 25-17 win to level the match 1-1. The Highlanders led 16-4 in terms of kills while also having two service aces to take care of the set.

The third set was the closest of all four in the match, with both teams trading blows to extend the length of the set. Lindenwood’s Logan Nash committed a service error that launched a late rally for the Highlanders, scoring the last four points in the set. While they held an advantage in kills over NJIT in the third, Lindenwood was set back by a match-high 10 service errors which put them down 2-1.

The Highlanders held on in the fourth, winning the final set 25-20 and the match 4-1.

Lindenwood ends the weekend with a split against the Red Flash and Highlanders, and now has a record of 2-2 on the year. The Lions will stay at home for next week’s Lindenwood Invitational, which gets started on Thursday at Hyland Arena.

Updated Sunday, Jan. 19, at 9:45 a.m. with results of the game against NJIT.