Friday, January 23, 2015
Picture by Hannah Helbert

Tigerville, S.C.—The North Greenville Men's Volleyball team earned the program's first ever win on Friday night, with a 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 19-25, 25-16, 15-10) comeback win over the Cobras of Coker College, in Hayes Gymnasium.

The Crusaders jumped out on the visiting Cobras quickly, as Matthew McManaway struck down two straight kills to give NGU a 2-0 lead. The Crusaders would take a 3-0 lead before Coker broke through to make the early score 3-1. NGU would take a 5-1 lead before the Cobras evened the tally at 5-5. This would become a theme for the first set, as the Crusaders would take a sizeable advantage, only to see the Cobras tie the score.

NGU would be just three points from its first 1-0 lead of the season, late in Friday's match, after taking a 22-19 lead. Coker would call a timeout to regroup, and score three straight to even the score at 22. The Crusaders would take a 23-22 lead before McManaway and Curtis Westra paired up for a block to earn NGU a 24-22, match point lead. Coker would score once more to pull to within two, before an unforced error would hand NGU a 25-23 win.

The second set would be back and forth set, this time with the Cobras commanding the advantage for most of the game. The Crusaders would follow Coker's first set lead, battling back several times to even the tally. Coker would take a late 20-18 lead, but an error and another kill from McManaway would even the count at 20-20. Coker would go on a 5-2 run to put NGU away, evening the set tally at 1-1.

North Greenville would once again find itself fighting from behind in the third set as the Cobras continued to answer any run that the Crusaders would attempt to put together. Coker would string together 11 kills in the third frame, hitting at a .350 clip, committing just four errors. NGU put together 10 kills and just four errors, but struggled from the service line, committing six errors. The Cobras would take the third set 25-19, making the fourth a must win for NGU.

The Crusaders looked poised to force a fifth set, early on, taking a 7-5 lead. The Crusaders continued to build on that lead, taking a 19-10 advantage, the biggest lead of the night for either team. NGU would force the fifth and deciding set, taking the fourth with a 25-16 win. Luuga Vailu'u put the finishes touches on the frame with one of his two set four kills.

NGU would carry its fourth set momentum into the winner take all portion of the night, quickly taking a 6-3 lead at the midway point of the final set. The Crusaders saved their best performance of the night for the final set. North Greenville finished the night with a 10 kill performance, with just two errors on 17 attempts, one of its best sets to date. NGU would go on earn the program's first win in thrilling fashion, taking out South Atlantic Conference member Coker College with a 15-10 win in set five.

The Crusaders prevailed in a very competitive non-conference showdown, which saw a total of 23 ties, and six lead changes, in all five sets combined. Curtis Westra led North Greenville with a team, season, and career high 16 kills, with just four errors. Westra also added three block assists, and a service ace. Matthew McManaway finished with a career high 13 kills and three assisted blocks, while Connor Rhine finished with 10 kills, and an ace. Alexander Schinzing also put together a career night as a setter, dishing out 49 assists while Dustin King finished with a game high 13 digs.

NGU, now 1-6 on the season, will look to earn its second win of the season on January 30th, when it travels to Charleston West Virginia to take on the University of Charleston. First serve is scheduled for 7pm.