BRISTOL, Tenn. – King took the first set against Pfeiffer, but Pfeiffer responded by taking the final three sets to defeat the Tornado, 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18) Saturday at the Student Center Complex. The Falcons improved to 2-1 (2-1 Conference Carolinas) while the Tornado dropped to 1-4 (0-3) for the season.
Micah Bortner paced Pfeiffer with 18 kills, and Caleb Brophy added 15 kills, three service aces, eight digs, two solo blocks and five block assists. Mark Hess tallied nine digs to lead the Falcons in that category.
Senior Michael Koebel (Richmond, Va.) had 12 kills to lead the Tornado. Freshman Matthew Lychock (Las Vegas, Nev.) made seven kills, three digs, one solo block, and six block assists. Senior Ned Parker (Richmond, Va.) had seven digs to pace the Tornado defensively. Freshman Adrian Lopez (Houston, Texas) added five kills, six digs, a solo block, and five block assists.
King raced out to a 5-1 lead to begin the match, but Pfeiffer returned the favor with a 5-1 run to tie the opening set at six. The rest of the set was back and forth, but with the score knotted at 19, King scored 6 of the last 9 points to take the set 25-22, which ended on a kill by Lychock.
The second set was again close throughout. Neither team led by more than four points for the whole set. Pfeiffer took their largest lead, 23-19, on a kill by Brophy. The Tornado scored consecutive points on two errors from Pfeiffer to close the gap to 23-21. However, consecutive kills by Bortner gave Pfeiffer the set, 25-21, to knot the match at a set apiece.
The Falcons used that momentum to run out to a 6-2 lead in the third, but King came back and eventually took their first lead of the set, 10-9, thanks to 2 straight aces by junior Stephen Brown (Lawrenceville, Ga.). The Tornado led 15-13 on an attack error by Pfeiffer, but Pfeiffer scored the next four points to retake the lead at 17-15. With the score tied at 18, Pfeiffer won three straight points, two on kills, to take a 21-18 lead. The Tornado made it 23-22, but consecutive errors gave Pfeiffer the third set, 25-22, and a two set to one lead.
Pfeiffer got off to a good start in the fourth set as well by taking a 15-9 lead. King closed the gap to 19-16, but the Falcons scored six of the last eight points, which included an ace by Brophy on match point, to give the Falcons a 25-18 fourth set win and the match, three sets to one.
Pfeiffer hit well as a team and tallied 52 kills, compared to 37 kills for the Tornado. This helped to offset the 13 service errors the Falcons committed.
With the loss, the Tornado have lost three straight matches. King will try to end that streak on Wednesday, Jan. 23 against Lees-McRae in the Student Center at 7 p.m.