BRISTOL, Tenn. – Returning home for the first time in 46 days, the King University men's volleyball team faced Pfeiffer University in a conference match on Wednesday. The visiting Falcons were able to spoil King's homecoming, however, taking the match in four sets to drop the Tornado to seventh place in the conference standings.
The Falcons (9-11, 6-4 Conference Carolinas) hit .324 on the evening, led by Michael Brewer's match-high 14 kills, and amassed 54 terminations. Brewer had a double-double that included ten digs, making him one of three Falcons to reach double-figures in digs. Fabio Diniz, who led the conference with a .384 hitting percentage coming into the match, hit .556 with an errorless ten kills and had eight blocks. David Specian had 46 assists to raise his average of 10.3 assists per set, which ranked 15th nationally coming into the match.
The third-place Falcons took control of the first set midway through, using a 4-0 run to turn a one-point advantage into a 13-8 lead. King (8-15, 3-7 Conference Carolinas) was never able to close within three points again, and a 7-1 Pfeiffer run keyed by a service error and a Specian and Diniz block sealed the Falcons' first-set win.
King, however, jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second set never trailed en route to a 25-22 victory. The Falcons pulled to within a point on five different occasions, but a Nick Serowski kill gave King a 12-10 lead and would mark the final time Pfeiffer would trail by less than two points. King led by as many as four points six times late in the set before the Falcons scored consecutive points to make the score 24-22. An Eddie Moushikhian kill ended the set, however, and evened the score in the match.
Moushikhian and Mason Casner led the Tornado offensively with nine kills each. Casner's came on 13 attempts with two errors, giving him a .538 attack percentage for the match. He is now hitting .435 in his career against Pfeiffer. Casner, Serowski, and Matthew Lychock each also had three blocks to lead the team, while Jeremy Funk and Kiel Bell finished with eight digs each.
The fourth set featured five ties, but the Falcons never allowed King to take the lead. Pfeiffer seized control with a 7-2 run after King evened the score at eight points each. The Tornado pulled within three points several times, with the final occasion coming on a Casner and Moushikhian block of a Hamilton attack. But Pfeiffer maintained the lead and went on to a 25-17 win in the set, then opened the fourth set by scoring six of the first seven points and cruised to a 25-15 victory.
King now sits in seventh place in the conference standings, one-half game behind Barton College for the sixth and final qualifying position for a conference tournament bid. The Tornado and Bulldogs will square off on Friday evening in Bristol in a match with large postseason implications. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.