Bluefield, WV - Crusaders rally from two sets down to claim victory over the Eagles of Cincinnati Christian University in five sets. (29-31, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-13)
In the first set the Crusaders and the Rams would stay close the entire way. Both teams would record the same amount of kills, but the Rams would take the advantage in the attacking errors only recording half of the amount North Greenville would have. The set would be extended past the usual 25 points as the Rams would take this set 31-29.
The Crusaders would improve on their hitting percentage in the second set bringing it up to .154, but so would the Rams bringing up theirs to .290. This would yet again be a close set between the two teams as neither team would gain a large margin. North Greenville would record 17 kills, and Cincinnati Christian would post 13 kills. Despite a 4 kill difference the Rams would take advantage of the errors by the Crusaders and take the second set 25-22.
North Greenville would come out strong in the third set starting to turn the momentum over to the Crusaders side. North Greenville would post an insurmountable hitting percentage of .526, while the Eagles would post a small percentage of -.038. This would be the first set that a team would have a large advantage as the Crusaders would have a 10 point lead at one point. North Greenville posted 11 kills and 1 error in the set that they won 25-14.
The Crusaders would cool down on the hitting but still would not relinquish the lead in the fourth set. They would be able to keep the advantage most of the set. The Eagles would try to make a comeback in the set. The comeback bid for the Eagles would come up short after hitting errors would give North Greenville the final advantage in the set taking this one 25-19.
The fifth and final set would be one that was fought hard for as the winning team would only need 15 points instead of the usual 25. Both teams would be quite even in the hitting percentages, but the Crusaders would take the edge as they posted a .333 percentage over the Eagles .235. This would be the set that would result in a North Greenville comeback from two sets down. The Crusaders would take the final set in a close one 15-13.
Freshman Matthew McManaway would be the impact player of the match recording 17 kills, 4 digs, 1 service ace, 2 block solos, and 5 block assists. A quote from Coach Fred Battenfield on this exciting match was "A slow start found NGU down 2-0 to Cincinnati Christian University. A drastic lineup change injected life back into the Crusaders who fought back to win 15-13 in the 5th set.
NGU would look to dispatch its second opponent of the day, as the Crusaders geared up to take on the host, Bluefield.
The Rams would get off on the right foot against the Crusaders in the first set taking an early 3-1 lead. North Greenville would then take advantage of a few errors made by Bluefield to bring back the set tied at 7-7. Both teams would then trade 3-0 runs bringing the score 10-10 before the Crusaders would go on a 5-0 run of their own to take a 15-10 lead. The closest that the Rams would come to the Crusaders would be 2 points as North Greenville would then go on a 4-0 run to win the set 25-19.
The Crusaders would be the one to get the fast start in the second set taking the 3-1 early lead. The Rams would try to remain close as they would keep the lead in check being 2-3 point difference in the set score. North Greenville would then overpower Bluefield going on a 9-3 run taking the lead to 17-9. The Crusaders would not let the lead go less than 7 points, and at one point had a 10 point lead at 20-10. The Rams would only score 3 of the last 8 points as the Crusaders would take this set 25-13. North Greenville would post 10 kills to 4 errors bringing their hitting percentage in this set to .333, the highest percentage of the entire match.
The third and final set would be much of a repeat of the second as North Greenville would take an early lead of 6-1. The Crusaders would take advantage of some errors by the Rams keeping the lead at 10-6. Bluefield would not go down easy as they would bring the score in the set back to 16-13. North Greenville would then begin to pull away going on a 5-1 run giving them a 7 point commanding lead at 21-14. Bluefield would find an end to the run with a kill, but the Crusaders would eventually take the 3rd and final set 25-18.
Freshman Martin Alcox would be the impact player in this match for the Crusaders recording 8 kills, 1 service ace, 3 digs, 2 block solos, and 2 block assists. Coach Fred Battenfield's remarks on the 3 set victory were "The second match saw NGU battling the home team, Bluefield. Riding on the momentum from the previous match, the Crusaders won in three straight sets."
The Crusaders will get some much needed rest after three matches this weekend and will return home on Thursday February 5th to compete with a conference opponent Pfeiffer University Falcons. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hayes Gymnasium.