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LMU volleyball Splits Matches Sunday in Ohio

URBANA, Ohio — The No. 7 NCAA Division II ranked Lincoln Memorial University men’s volleyball team split a pair of matches Sunday afternoon inside the Warren G. Grimes Center in Urbana, Ohio, claiming its fifth straight-set victory of 2020 with a 3-0 sweep of host Urbana University. The Railsplitters (6-4) began the day with a five-set, neutral-site thriller against fellow Independent Volleyball Association (IVA) member Daemen College before throttling the Blue Knights to close out the tri-match weekend.

A superb day from senior opposite Evan Cory, who racked up 32 kills, 16 digs and six blocks in the two matches, and an outstanding performance by senior middle hitter Pedro Carvalho, who was responsible for 20 kills, 11 blocks and seven service aces, helped lead a short-handed LMU squad.

Attacking at over a .300 clip in both matches, the Railsplitters tallied 99 kills, 20 blocks and 15 aces on the day.

After dominating the first two sets in its opening match with the Wildcats (5-5), 25-15 and 25-19, LMU was barely edged 25-23 in sets three and four before coming just two points shy in an 18-16 fifth set. The Railsplitters allowed no more than 19 points in any set versus Urbana (0-14), taking the first set 25-15 and earning 25-19 set victories in the second and third.

Match 1 | Daemen 3, LMU 2

Despite holding a two-set lead and rallying from a 13-9 deficit in the decisive fifth set, LMU was unable to close out the match. Totaling a season-high 62 kills, which ties for the second-most in a match in program history, the Railsplitters hit at an impressive mark of .385 and looked unstoppable in the opening two stanzas.

LMU notched 13 total blocks as a team, attacked at .478 in the opening set and .571 in the second, committed only 15 attack errors and laid down at least 10 kills in all five sets.

Tying his season high, Cory claimed 23 kills as sophomore middle/right side hitter Dawson Walker and Carvalho each made a game-best six blocks. Carvalho also contributed 14 kills and tied his career high with four aces while junior setter AJ Risavy handed out a season-high 50 assists and sophomore outside hitter Johansen Negron made a season-best eight digs.

Trailing 2-0 in the match, Daemen raced out to an 11-5 lead in the third and the Railsplitters were forced to play catch-up the rest of the set. LMU tied things up at 18 on a 4-0 run with a Cory kill off a Risavy set but three of the next four points went to the Wildcats and Damen held on for the set win to make things 2-1.

Despite the Railsplitters winning four of the first six and five of the first eight points of the four set, a strong Wildcat push gave Daemen an 11-7 advantage. Much like the third set, LMU knotted things at 18-all following a 5-1 run. The two teams would go back and forth before back-to-back Wildcat points made it a 24-22 set. The Railsplitters benefited on a Damen service error but the Wildcats sent it to a deciding fifth stanza with a kill.

Daemen won the first three points of the fifth before a Carvalho kill and then ace gave LMU a 6-5 lead. From there, the Wildcats would go on an impressive 6-1 run to make it 11-7. Trailing 13-9, a trio of Railsplitter kills got the Blue and Gray within one before a pair of Daemen attack errors tied the set at 14. A kill from junior outside hitter Logan Kerley once again locked the set at 15 and Cory rose up for a kill to make it 16-all, but the Wildcats’ Zach Yerington dealt two consecutive kills to clinch the match for Daemen.

Kerley finished with eight kills and Negron provided a trio of blocks with Cory and Walker making seven and six digs, respectively.

Yerington claimed an impressive 36 kills in the match for the Wildcats, who swung at a .288 mark, earned 66 kills and totaled nine aces. Daemen’s Michael Krueger registered a match-high 54 assists and made 18 digs as Yerington and Zach Schneider served four aces and Ryan Parker and Jahari Winkfield both earned a trio of blocks.

Match 2 | LMU 3, Urbana 0

Taking control of the match from the start, LMU hit .308 and recorded 37 kills with only 13 attack errors. The Railsplitters posted 16 kills in the third set and finished with eight aces and seven total blocks as Cory led the way once again with a near double-double of nine kills and nine digs, not to mention four blocks and an ace.

Defensively, LMU held the host Blue Knights to a .067 attacking clip and 27 kills in the lopsided affair. Urbana committed 21 attack errors, made just one block as a team and was only able to dig 25 Railsplitter attacks.

Winning the first four points of the match, LMU set the tone early and never let up. Racing out to a 12-3 lead in the first set, the Railsplitters built their advantage to 20-11 and cruised to a 25-15 opening set triumph.

The score remained tight in the second set until LMU broke a 7-7 tie with a five-point run and went ahead 15-10. The Blue Knights would get within one three times at 16-15, 19-18 and 20-19 but the Railsplitters closed out the set with five-straight points.

In the third, LMU found itself in another close set through the first 12 points before creating separation and moving in front 11-7 on an Urbana attack error. Four consecutive Railsplitter points gave LMU a commanding 16-9 lead with three-straight Carvalho aces. After the Blue Knights won three points in a row, the Railsplitters put together a 5-2 run to move in front 21-14 off back-to-back Walker kills. Urbana won five of the following seven points, but a Carvalho kill and a Blue Knight attack error secured the third set and the match.

Negron had eight kills and five digs while Carvalho finished with six kills, five blocks and a trio of aces. Sophomore setter Ryan Foy was responsible for setting 30 of LMU’s 37 kills.

Tyler Chavez totaled a match-high tying nine kills for Urbana and Jack Brinkman tallied three aces as Tomas Beralas and Chavez each made six digs.

Up Next…

The Railsplitters will have over a week off from match action before returning to the court for competition next Sunday, Feb. 9 in Ohio. LMU will take on Daemen College at 2 p.m. in Urbana, Ohio, before facing host Urbana at 4 p.m.