Purdue Fort Wayne 3, Lindenwood 0
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The 12th-ranked Purdue Fort Wayne men's volleyball team hit a season-high .434 in the Mastodons 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-21) win over Lindenwood on Sunday (March 3). The hitting was buoyed by a .737 rate in the first set, which marked the highest individual set hitting percentage since 2014. The .434 team hitting percentage is the most for the team since January 12, 2018, when the Mastodons hit .522 at Princeton.
Michael Keegan paced the Mastodon offense, as he finished with 37 assists and two kills.
The Mastodons came out on fire, ending the first set in just over 15 minutes. The 'Dons had an errorless 14 kills in the opening set, speeding past the Lions, who hit a respectable .381. Kade Bontrager and Tomas Gago combined for seven kills on seven swings. The Mastodons also had four of their five aces in the first set. Lindenwood only trailed two at 15-13, but the 'Dons went on a 10-2 run behind Pelegrin Vargas and Colton Stone's services. Vargas had two aces and Stone had one in this run.
The second set was back-and-forth until 18-all, then the Mastodons buckled down defensively, earning 3.5 team blocks in the 7-2 run that ended the set. Bontrager and Richie Diedrich each had a solo block to accompany Gago's 4-0-5 frame. The Mastodons held the Lions to .067 hitting in the second set.
The Lions held a 17-16 lead in the last set, but Purdue Fort Wayne took five straight behind three kills from three different 'Dons. Gago earned the last kill of the match, reaching 10 for the afternoon for a .692 hitting rate. Bontrager finished with 10 kills as well with a .368 percentage while Stone had eight with a .400 hitting rate. Vargas had six of his match-high 12 digs in the third set.
Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 10-7, 4-2 MIVA while Lindenwood drops to 7-11, 3-5 MIVA. The Mastodons now have sole possession of the third spot in the MIVA table. They are back in action on Monday (March 4) with Quincy at 6 p.m. on Arnie Ball Court.
McKendree 3, Ohio State 2
The McKendree University men's volleyball team made program history on Sunday as it defeated Ohio State University for the first time, 3-2. The Bearcats are 7-8 overall on the season and 4-4 in Midwestern intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) play.
The Bearcats and the Buckeyes fought back-and-forth in the first set with numerous lead changes until Ohio State went on a four-point run late to win the set, 25-23. McKendree answered back handily with the largest victory from either team in the five set match in set two, 25-19. A strong Bearcat defense with four blocks recorded in set three helped McKendree earn another win, 25-22. Ohio State remained alive with a 25-22 win in set four to push the match into a fifth set. McKendree was a force to be reckoned with in set five, taking the first point off of a freshman setter Ryan Serrano (Anthem, AZ/Boulder Creek) ace and then never lost that lead throughout the remainder of the set. The Bearcats won set five, 15-10 and the match, 3-2.
McKendree tallied 13 total blocks in the five set match compared to the Buckeyes nine total blocks. The Bearcats also outnumbered Ohio State in service aces, 7-6. McKendree recorded a higher team hitting percentage throughout the match as well earning a .295% compared to the Buckeye's .261%.
Junior middle blocker Lucas Galifos (Mokena,IL/Lincoln Way East) shined for the Bearcats with 10 tallied kills on 15 total attempts for a .600 hitting percentage. Galifos also recorded two solo blocks and five block assists for the McKendree defense. Freshman outside hitter Brendon Dunn (Sherman Oaks, CA/Notre Dame) and junior opposite Zach Schnittker (Arlington Heights, IL/Buffalo Grove) also played a pivotal part in the victory. Dun collected 12 kills, two service aces, three total blocks, and 10 digs. Schnittker earned 14 kills, two service aces, four block assists, and five digs for the Bearcats.
Freshman libero Francisco Comas (Naperville, IL/Neuqua Valley High School) led the back line with 13 recorded digs in the match. Serrano and outside hitter Patrick Ross (Anthem, AZ/Boulder Creek) also helped defensively, Serrano tallying eight digs and Ross earning four for McKendree. At the net for the Bearcat defense was sophomore middle blocker Wyatt Dimke (Ham Lake, MN/Blaine) who recorded one solo block and four block assists.
The Bearcats will return home for a match against Quincy University on Friday March 8 at 7 p.m. in the Statham Sports Center.