DUE WEST, S.C. – Playing its third conference road match in as many days, the King University men's volleyball team suffered a setback on Friday afternoon, falling 3-0 to Conference Carolinas leaders Erskine College.
The Flying Fleet came into the match with a 5-1 record in conference play and showed their resolve as they battled with the gritty Tornado deep into each set. King trailed by just one point in a first set that featured eight ties and three lead changes before the Fleet scored three straight points to take an 18-15 lead. The Tornado attempted to rally, but Erskine had an answer for every point and didn't allow King to pull within two points during the remainder of the set, which was finished with a Mike Kawa kill to give Erskine the 25-21 victory.
After a second set that saw another late 3-0 Erskine run to take control, the Tornado used a 4-0 run midway through the third set that featured blocks by Gerber and Nick Serowski and a thunderous termination by Kiel Bell to force a Fleet timeout. Erskine scored three straight points moments later to tie the match at 20. The teams were again locked at 21 and 22 points before a Fleet block and Tornado attack error gave Erskine match point. A service error extended play, but a Michael Michelau kill gave Erskine a 25-23 win in the set and a sweep in the match.
Roberto Perez Vargas led the Fleet with 16 kills on the evening, making just three errors in 21 attempts to hit at a .619 clip. Three Erskine players all registered nine kills in the match to give the Fleet 51 total terminations. Erskine was deadly at the net, hitting.359 as a team and compiling 7.0 total team blocks, including four from Michelau and three each from Corey Marks and Nathan Camnitz.
Eddie Moushikhian led the Tornado with 11 kills, registering his 14th double-digit kill total of the season in King's 17 matches. Primary setter Matthew DeLong finished with 27 assists, while freshman Chris Gerber continued his impressive play of late with four blocks.
After playing three road matches in conference play in three nights, the Tornado will take a much-needed break before their next match. King travels to Indiana to face Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne on Friday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. The Tornado will then play at Ball State the following night.