Tigerville, SC – In what can only be called a knock-down, drag-out kind of game the Crusaders fell to Limestone in four sets. The match could have gone either way as all of the sets besides one were settled within two points of each other. The Crusaders fall to 5 – 3 in conference play with the second wave of conference games coming up.
The game between the Saints and the Crusaders started in one of the oddest fashions as the games beginning was delayed by a bat that was loose in Hayes Gymnasium. That interruption did not stop the Saints from coming out firing on all cylinders as the Crusaders fell into a six-point hole. It was not until Jackson Gilbert (Sophomore) rifled a hit past the Saint defense for the team’s first kill of the game. The first set, set the tone for the rest of the match as the Crusaders and Saints battled back and forth making electrifying play after play. After Gilbert’s kill the Crusaders spit off four points in a row to bring the lead within striking distance. The Crusaders pushed the Saints lead thanks to outstanding plays from Cade McGee (Freshman), Brandon Baker (Sophomore), and Jake Boldog (Junior). As the set came to a close, North Greenville called a crucial timeout after which Boldog and Ben Hamsho (Junior) combine for 3 kills to give the Crusaders the 25 – 24 advantage.
In an all-out war, the set battled on as the teams traded points. The Saints continually took the one-point advantage to which the Crusaders had a quick answer. McGee, Hamsho, and Sergio Carrillo (Freshman) played exceptionally well in the extra points keeping the Crusaders in the fight. Limestone would eventually win the set with the final score 32 – 34.
The rest of the game was more of the same as the crowd awed at the incredible athleticism of both teams and the incredible plays the Crusaders made continually. The second set rambled on as the teams traded hit after hit until North Greenville rattled off a 5 – 1 run giving the team a decisive lead. The Crusaders then won two jousts in a row as Hamsho and Carrillo hammered the ball back at the Saints.
The last two sets of the game were nothing less than an Ali-Fraser bout. The teams fought valiantly making incredible saves and daring hits. In the third set a jump ball sparked a Crusader come back that featured a block from Hamsho, a kill from Aaron Campbell (Senior), and two service aces from Grayson Larrence (Senior). The last set of the match was entertaining much like the rest of the game however the Crusaders had untimely service and hitting errors that plagued them throughout the last set.
The Crusaders now have two back-to-back home matches against familiar opponents. The team will host Lees-McRae on this Saturday, February 23rd for a 7 o’clock game. Then the Flying Fleet from Erskine College come to Tigerville for a 7 pm match nest Wednesday, February 27th.