URBANA, Ohio. --- The Tusculum University men's volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday as part of a tri-match, hosted by IVA-adversary Urbana. The Pioneers picked up their fourth win of the 2020 season.
The ninth-ranked Saint Xavier Cougars of the NAIA gutted out a 3-0 win over the Pioneers, while Tusculum battled back from a two-set deficit to take the season-series over the Blue Knights.
No. 9 Saint Xavier 3, Tusculum 0
Ben Gabor posted nine kills, pacing Saint Xavier to a 3-0 win over Tusculum. The Cougars won the match by scores of 25-23, 25-23, 27-25 against the Pioneers. Andrew Bergstrand and Drew Ehlers net five and four kills, respectively. Ehlers sent 4-for-7 on his swing for a .571 hitting clip.
Saint Xavier's Aaron Kummer dished out all 34 of the Cougars' assists, while Gabor collected a team-high six digs. Kyle Springer was just behind with five to his credit. Kummer and Gabor landed two service aces apiece. At the net, both Gabor and Ehlers notched two solo blocks and two assists as the lone teammates to record a defense.
Shaun Kampshoff earned a match-high 11 kills, followed by Mackenzie Scott (4), Shaphar Grant (3), Matteo Miselli (3), Hunter Walck (3), and Ivan Sosa (1). Lucas Blanco handed out 21 assists in the loss, while Kampshoff notched the lone ace for the Pioneers. Defensively, Kampshoff nearly completed a double-double with nine digs. Blanco added five digs and Scott collected four. Sosa was a force in the front row with nine total blocks (one solo, eight assists), meanwhile Blanco is credited with five block assists.
Tusculum posted a .136 hitting percentage as TU finished with 25 kills, 16 attack errors, and 66 attempts. Saint Xavier tallied a .082 attack percentage with 21 kills and 16 errors in 61 attempts. The Cougars led the Pioneers in assists (34-25) and aces (4-2), while the Tennessee team held the advantage in digs (25-18) and total blocks (12-6).
Tusculum 3, Urbana 2
The Pioneers completed a reverse sweep over the Blue Knights, winning by scores of 22-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-23, 20-18.
Tusculum posted a .328 hitting percentage as the team finished with a program-record 60 kills, 19 attack errors, and 125 attempts. Urbana tallied a .263 attack percentage with 54 kills, 23 errors and 118 attempts. The Blue Knights finished the day with two service aces to go along with two total blocks and 22 digs. The Pioneers led in assists (54-53), while the home team collected more aces (8-7), digs (44-37), and total blocks (8-6).
Miselli tied his career-high 25 kills, while Kampshoff set a new personal-best with 19. The teammates both hit over .400 (.429 and .417, respectively). A trio of Pioneers contributed five kills apiece: Arthur Amorim, Grant, and Walck. Blanco chipped in a kill as well. He dished out a program-record 51 assists in the come-from-behind win. Miselli led at the line with three aces, while both Blanco and Grant landed a pair. Peter Stewart stepped up with 13 digs, his Tusculum-best, ahead of seven from Kampshoff and six each from Miselli and Walck. Three Pioneers are credited with three total blocks: Amorim (one solo, two assists), Kampshoff (three assists), and Grant (three assists).
Tyler Chavez notched 26 kills to lead Urbana, followed by 14 from Jack Brinkman. Chaz Hafer handed out 50 assists and launched five aces. Kurt Klamfoth collected the three service points. Tomas Beralas and Hafer reached double-figure digs with 10. Preston Kent headed up the defense at the net with five total blocks (two solo, three assists). Hafer is credited with three total blocks (one solo, two assists).
The match started with two straight blocks for Urbana, until two attack errors by the Blue Knights tied the match up. The teams traded points until Urbana took its largest lead at 21-15. The Pioneers took seven of the next 11 points but it was not quite enough to win the opening frame. Kampshoff recorded five kills in the frame.
Set two was much of the same with the Blue Knight pulling out to a lead that Tusculum could not overcome, aided by five service aces throughout. The Pioneers managed a 6-4 advantage before five straight points went the way of Urbana. Tusculum maintained the two-point distance, but seven consecutive points in the other direction made the score 19-10. The Black and Orange were able to make a dent, but the set went final at 25-17. Once again, Kampshoff landed five kills and Tusculum hit a fiery .391 in the frame.
With their backs against the wall, the Pioneers battled to extend the match. Tusculum pulled out to a 5-2 lead, but the advantage teetered to Urbana 6-5 fairly quickly. After the set was tied at six, courtesy of a service error, the Tennessee team claimed 12 of the next 17 tallies. The Blue Knights attempted a comeback but consecutive kills from Kampshoff and Miselli extinguished the flame.
The fourth frame was fueled by eight kills from Miselli, including the two set-clinching points. As in previous sets, the teams traded points until one hits double-digits. Things opened up for the Pioneers, jumping to a four-point lead. Tusculum continued the trend until the 22-18 mark. After an Urbana timeout to settle the team, the Blue Knights claimed the next 5-of-6 to tie the set at 23. Miselli stepped up to shut down Urbana, forcing a decisive fifth set.
For just the second time in the contest, the opening point went the way of the Pioneers. Miselli kept the Pioneers fighting with seven kills in the frame. Tusculum crawled to a 7-5 lead before the Blue Knights tied the final set at seven and then again at eight. Two consecutive points by the Black and Orange forced an Urbana timeout. The Blue Knights came out strong with five of the next six points going their way. Kills by Miselli and Kampshoff came out of a Tusculum timeout to tie the set at 13-all. With Urbana holding the advantage, a clutch block by Kampshoff and Grant evened the score. Miselli completed the comeback with two straight kills.
Tusculum returns home for the first time in over a month to face Queens University of Charlotte in an IVA match on February 29. First serve between the Pioneers and Royals is scheduled for 2 p.m.