BRISTOL, Tenn. – The first set of Wednesday night's gave fans much excitement as both the Limestone Saints and King Tornado combined for more than 60 points of offense. But like the first set, Limestone outlasted the Tornado in a three-set loss for King that dropped them to 6-8 (3-6 CC) on the season. In his first start at outside hitter, Jeremy Funk set a career high with 13 kills to lead King.
As the lead switched hands multiple times throughout the first set, junior Jeremy Funk filled the statistic sheet with seven kills in the opening frame. His effort plus six combined block assists from Mason Casner, Ashton Hippenstiel, Matthew Lychock, and Adrian Lopez helped continue a first set that need 64 points scored to declare a winner.
The match nearly ended at the regular 25-point mark when facing set point, Jeremy Funk's attack went into the antenna at the same time a Limestone frontline player crashed into the net. The error was waved off and instead of Limestone winning 25-23, play continued.
Immediate after the call reversal, King's Matthew Lychock and Ashton Hippenstiel combined for a block at the net to force set point, 25-24. Funk committed one of three service errors on the night that tied the set back up at 25 all. Both teams went back and forth beyond the 30-point barrier with King breaking four match points before a bad set and attack error gave Limestone the victory, 33-31.
Limestone made easy work of the second and third sets, riding the momentum of their extra-long opening frame victory. By the middle of each game, Limestone had broken away by as many as five points and rode toward victories in each set, 25-20 and 25-19.
The Saints' CJ Shearer and Andrew Miller combined for 30 kills on the night with Miller leading all attackers with 16. Miller's night was not just highlighted by quantity but also efficiency when he hit .750 for the evening (16-for-20, 1 error). Shearer also hit at a high mark, finishing with a .400 hit percentage.
Funk, a junior from Lancaster, Pa., led the Tornado with 13 kills, a career high. Funk made the move to outside hitter for his first start at the position on Wednesday evening.
Freshman Matthew Lychock (Las Vegas, Nev.) also hit well, finishing with a 50 percent attack success rate. Michael Koebel (Richmond, Va.) and Adrian Lopez (Houston, Texas) led the defense with seven digs each while Ashton Hippenstiel (Yupaica, Calif.) tallied a team-high five block assists.
King's next scheduled match is for Monday, Feb. 18, against Washington Adventist inside the Student Center Complex.