Champions! Tornado blow past Barton for first NCAA berth

Photo Credit: Robert Foster
Photo Credit: Robert Foster

All-Tournament Team

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Champions! The King University men's volleyball team turned in an impressive performance on Saturday in the Conference Carolinas Championship final against second seeded Barton College. The Tornado opened with a 25-10 set win and put the Bulldogs away in the final two sets behind their stellar defense play, taking the match 3-0.

THE BASICS
FINAL SCORE: King 3, Barton 0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-12)
LOCATION: Student Center Complex; Bristol, Tenn.
RECORDS: King 23-5; Barton 21-8

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The sellout crowd got the Tornado going out of the gate, jumping out to a 7-2 lead behind three service aces, forcing a Barton timeout.
  • King later scored eight straight points, opening up a 19-6 advantage as they cruised to the 25-10 victory.
  • King hit .389 in the opening set and held Barton to a -.190 attack percentage.
  • The Tornado jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the second set following an Adrian Besson kill.
  • Barton came back to get within one at 18-17, but a pair of blocks from Kiel Bell and Besson brought the momentum back to the Tornado.
  • King took the set 25-21 behind five blocks in the set while hitting .300.
  • Seniors Sean Luhmann, Bell and Jeff Sprayberry gave the Tornado an early 6-1 lead in the third set, accounting for five kills in the early going.
  • Sprayberry gave King a 21-14 lead with a kill, and the fans began to feel the championship coming.
  • King held off a small Barton spurt, but Sprayberry ended the match with his 14th kill, giving King the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
  • Sprayberry led King with 14 kills and hit .370.
  • Bell followed with seven kills and a team-high seven digs.
  • Nick Drooker handed out 30 assists and registered six digs and five blocks.
  • Besson posted five blocks to go along with four kills.
  • Jon Wheaton led the defense with seven blocks while adding four kills.

FOR THE FOES

  • Aleksa Brkovic led the Bulldogs with nine kills and six digs.
  • Angelos Mandilaris followed with eight kills.
  • Oscar Fiorentino handed out 23 assists and recorded seven digs.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

  • King wins their first Conference Carolinas Tournament title, earning their first NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball Championship appearance in program history.
  • The Tornado posted 13 blocks in the match, marking a season-high.
  • Spraryberry was selected the Most Outstanding Player and Bell, and Drooker were selected to the all-tournament team.

UP NEXT

  • The Tornado will be in action in the NCAA Tournament which will be announced at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.