DALLAS, PA. -- The Trine University men's volleyball team suffered a pair of losses to end competition at the Misericordia (Pa.) University Invitational in Dallas, Pa. The Thunder fell in straight sets, 3-0, against Sage (N.Y.) College and then fell short in a close, 3-2, match against Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.
In Trine's (2-7) first match of the day against Sage, the Thunder fell behind early in the first set, 3-0, but would come back to take a two-point advantage, 5-3, aided by a series of errors by Sage. Sage then rallied with eight straight points to take an 11-5. Trine made a rally of its own and got to within a point on a couple of occasions, but could not take the lead as Sage went on to post the 25-18 victory in the first set. The second set saw Trine lead by as many as seven points, 17-10, that included a 9-2 scoring run highlighted by multiple kills by freshman Kyle Dixon (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) and fellow freshman Eric Santiago-Garcia (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Glen Ridge). Sage chipped away at the deficit and eventually took the lead as part of a 10-3 run to end the set and claim a 25-23 win to take a 2-0 overall match advantage. The third set was another contested matchup until Sage opened up to a nine-point advantage late with a score of 23-14. Trine looked to get back into the set and got to within four, 24-20, but Sage recorded the final point before the Thunder could make any more ground with a final of 25-20 and claim the match, 3-0.
Santiago-Garcia led the Trine offensive attack with 10 kills against Sage and had a .286 hitting percentage. Dixon was second with seven kills. Junior Hunter Monday (Beech Grove, Ill./Roncalli) tallied a team-high 21 set assists.
Defensively, freshman Raviel Winters (Elwood, Ill./Joliet Central) led the team in digs with seven, followed by Santiago-Garcia with six digs. At the net, a pair of players both recorded a team-high two total blocks in freshmen Luke Maier (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) and Dan Boren (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead).
In the final match of the two-day event against Elizabethtown, Trine captured the first set, 25-23, that began with five straight points by the Thunder and included a pair of kills by Dixon and another kill by Maier. The Blue Jays came back to tie the set at 17-17, but three consecutive points by Trine gave the Thunder the room they needed to hang on to take the early 1-0 match lead with a final of 25-23. The second set saw Elizabethtown come out as the victor, 25-22, but Trine then took the third set that saw both teams battle to a 24-24 tie. Boren then scored the final points for Trine on a kill and a service ace to give Trine the 26-24 win and regain control of the match, 2-1. The teams went back-and-forth in the fourth set as neither team led by more than four points and turned into a scoring marathon with the teams even at 30-30. Elizabethtown then tallied the final two points of the set to come away with a 32-30 victory and deadlock the match at 2-2. With the score even at 10-10 in the deciding set following a kill by Santiago-Garcia, the Blue Jays went up by two points and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way as Elizabethtown claimed the final set, 15-13, and the match by a final of 3-2.
Trine had a pair of players record over 20 kills against Elizabethtown with Dixon posting a team-best 24 kills, followed by Santiago-Garcia with 23 kills. Monday set up the offense with 54 helpers and freshman Eric Reuther (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) added a pair of aces.
Four players finished in double figures in digs with Santiago-Garcia having a game-high 16 digs, followed by Monday with 12 digs. The duo of Maier and Winters rounded out the dig leaders with 11 digs each.
Maier led the team in blocks with four total (one solo and three assists) and Reuther was second with three blocks (one solo and two assists).
Trine will stay on the road and travel to Alliance, Ohio to take part in the Purple Raider Rumble hosted by the University of Mount Union next Friday-Saturday, Feb. 8-9. The Thunder will play a pair of matches on the first day beginning with a matchup against Penn State-Altoona at 6 p.m. Trine will then take on host school Mount Union at 8 p.m.