King sweeps away Marymount, Emmanuel

Photo taken by Rachel Burrus

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University men's volleyball team picked up a pair of wins on Saturday afternoon, sweeping Marymount University and Emmanuel College to break above the .500 mark for the first time since a win over conference foe Belmont Abbey on January 18.

The Tornado attack had its best performance of the season in the day's opening contest against Marymount (0-2), hitting .381 for the match. The first set saw the Tornado hit an incredible .682, compiling 15 kills on 22 attempts without committing an error. Eddie Moushikhian and Mason Casner each had four kills for the Tornado in the first set, while Nick Serowski and Matthew DeLong had three apiece. For the match, King's attack percentage sat at a gaudy .381 while holding the Saints attack to an -.011 performance. Marymount totaled 22 kills on the afternoon while committing 23 errors in 88 total attempts.

Moushikhian paced the Tornado attack with 14 kills and a .545 attack percentage. Mason Casner followed with seven kills. Jeff Bosslet had 33 assists in the match, adding six digs and a block, while Matthew Lychock had four kills on five attempts without an error.

All three sets were tight, with King able to piece together a run to pull away. The Tornado led 12-10 in the first set, but then scored seven of the next eight points as part of a 13-5 run to close the set. King trailed 15-14 in a second set that included eight ties and four lead changes before embarking on an 11-3 run to take the set, including scoring five consecutive points to close. King finished the third set on a 10-3 run to earn its first sweep of the season.

In the afternoon's second match, King (4-3) recorded 11 total blocks and held the Emmanuel (2-2) attack to .092 en route to a hard-fought sweep that saw a total of 30 ties and 10 lead changes. Serowski led the Tornado with 11 kills and a pair of blocks, while Moushikhian had a .400 attack percentage that included 10 kills, recorded three blocks, and had five digs. Casner and Lychock each recorded five blocks. Lychock also had six kills to go with his .545 attack percentage.

The first set saw the Tornado score 11 of the final 13 points to turn a 16-15 lead into a 25-17 victory. The second set, however, was a back-and-forth affair from the beginning that included 18 ties and six lead changes. All but six points of the set were played with just one point separating the teams.

The play of the afternoon occurred with the Tornado leading 17-16. After a thunderous Lion attack, the ball bounced off of King's Kiel Bell and ricocheted toward the seats on Emmanuel's side of the net. But Jeff Bosslet chased the ball down, extended fully for a dive, and set the ball back toward the Tornado side while avoiding crashing into the first row of the crowd. Bell went on the attack, and the point ended on an Emmanuel attack error moments later. The momentum-shifting play gave King its largest lead of the set and sparked the Tornado to a victory.

The third set appeared in doubt when  Emmanuel went on a 4-0 run to take a 21-19 lead. But a kill from Lychock stopped the Lions' run, and kills by Lychock and Serowski over the next four points kept the score tied at 23. King scored the final two points of the match on attack errors by Emmanuel, securing a second consecutive sweep for the Tornado.

The Tornado attack was dominant in both matches. On the afternoon, King hit .328 as a team with 85 terminations while holding their opponents to just .043 on the attack. The Tornado registered 14 total blocks and had 70 digs. Moushikhian hit .476 with 24 kills on the afternoon, while Lychock hit a blistering .625 with 10 kills and no errors.

King now embarks on a 15-match road swing that will begin at Conference Carolinas opponents Barton College and the University of Mount Olive on Friday and Saturday. The Tornado will return to Bristol on Wednesday, March 19 to face Pfeiffer in a rescheduled Conference Carolinas match from last weekend.