Saturday, January 3, 2015

Spartanburg, S.C.—The North Greenville men's volleyball team opened played its first official game in program history on Saturday night, falling to Pepperdine University 3-0 at the Upward Star Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The Wave of Pepperdine entered the 2015 season ranked #1 in the NCAA, returning five seniors including two All-American performers, while NGU enters its first season of men's volleyball.

The Crusaders, which were slightly overmatched by the height of the Pepperdine players (Pepperdine players averaged 6.4 feet tall), battled for the entire three set game. The Wave took a 6-2 lead early in the first set, but found themselves battling the shorter Crusader team as NGU pulled to within 6-5 of the west coasters. The Crusaders held the Wave lead to just two until Pepperdine went on the offensive with an 8-0 run that gave the wave an 18-7 lead. NGU looked to fight its way back into the opening frame, but the wave would go on to take the 25-11 win and a 1-0 set lead.

North Greenville took its first lead of the match to open the second frame. Matthew MacManaway gave the Crusader NGU its first lead with one of his two kills, taking advantage of a set from Alexander Schinzing. Schinzig finished the game with 17 dishes. NGU led 3-2 early on, but Pepperdine once again took the lead, and gained a comfortable advantage with a 10-1 run, earning a 13-4 lead. NGU would go on to lose the second set and go down 2-0 in set count, but improved on its first set score, falling to the Wave 25-14.

The Crusaders put together their best performance of the night in what would end up being the final set of the night. The Crusaders put up 17 points, but put together a competitive run late in the set. The Wave finished off the night cap with a 25-17 win, but the Crusaders put together a strong defensive effort, registered several blocks on the defensive side of the net, and some crafty kills on the offensive side.

The Crusaders were led by Martin Alcox who finished the night with a career and game high six kills. Curtis Westra also put up six kills while Luuga Vailu'u led NGU with a solo block and two assists.

The Crusaders fell to 0-1 early but gained some confidence down the stretch. NGU will get its second chance at the 1-0 Wave Monday night in Hayes Gymnasium. The Crusaders and Pepperdine are scheduled for a 7:00 pm first serve as Pepperdine makes its first ever trip to Tigerville, South Carolina.