Belmont, N.C. – North Greenville men’s volleyball picked the perfect time to break a losing skid, ousting Belmont Abbey from the Conference Carolinas playoffs with a 3-1 (19-25 | 25-22 | 25-22 | 25-22) victory.
The Squads split the regular season series, the road team winning both games. North Greenville kept the trend going on Saturday as they beat the Crusaders of BAC for the second time this season in their home arena.
NGU got off the deck in the second set after Abbey earned a set one victory. The Crusaders hit .250 in the opening frame compared to .471 for BAC, but the tables turned significantly in the second frame. NGU dished out 15 kills compared to just six miscues while holding BAC to just nine kills and helping force seven errors.
The second frame was relatively close for much of the time. North Greenville gained a 13-9 edge with a Jackson Gilbert kills before BAC battled back to even it at 14. The Crusaders put Abbey in a 23-19 hole with a kill from Aaron Campbell to inch closer to evening the set tally. Campbell would be key in the final points of the set as he knocked down two consecutive spikes for North Greenville to make it the first win.
A strong defensive effort in the final three sets helped set the tone for North Greenville, combined with a steady, consistent offensive display. Belmont Abbey struggled for the remainder of the night after looking solid in the opening frame. NGU was aided by 24-total attack errors by Abbey including 22 in sets two through four.
Abbey also aided NGU’s efforts with 15 errors from the service stripe. NGU got more late set heroics from Aaron Campbell in the third set as he once again put down consecutive kills to help NGU to the 25-22 victory, extending the lead to 2-1 in the set win count.
North Greenville took the early lead in the final set of the night and never trailed, but fended off several BAC comeback attempts. The biggest lead of the night for North Greenville came with a 16-10 advantage but Abbey fought back, scoring four unanswered points to make it 18-16 in favor of NGU.
The Crusaders re-extended the lead to four points, but Abbey continued to fight for its postseason life, eventually evening the score at 22-22, using three unanswered points including an NGU error to do the deed. North Greenville quickly rebounded though as two kills from Jackson Gilbert made it 24-22. The final point of the night was a gift to North Greenville as an attack error from Liam Maxwell of Belmont Abbey put the game away for the Crusaders to complete the upset.
Aaron Campbell led North Greenville with 17 – kills and just two errors. The senior hit a game-high .625 and also had a service ace and six digs on defense.
Jackson Gilbert also helped the offense with 16 kills and four digs on defense. Jake Boldog dished out a game-high 31 assists while Christian Phung added five digs.
North Greenville will travel to Wilson, N.C. for the semi-finals hosted by Barton College.