ALLIANCE, OHIO -- The Trine University men's volleyball team completed the first day of the Purple Raider Rumble hosted by the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. The Thunder were defeated by Penn State-Altoona, 3-0, and by host school Mount Union, 3-1.
In the match against PSU-Altoona, Trine (2-9) fell behind, 4-1, early in the first set. Trailing by five points later in the set, 8-3, the Thunder outscored the Lions, 4-2, to get to within three points at 10-7 following an attack error by PSU-Altoona. But that was as close as Trine got the rest of the way in the set as the Lions went on to lead by as many as nine points (21-12) en route to a 25-17 first set victory.
In set number two, Trine spotted PSU-Altoona two quick points before getting on the board with a service ace by junior Hunter Monday (Beech Grove, Ind./Roncalli) that made the score, 2-1. Trine later trailed by just a pair of points following a kill by freshman Dan Boren (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead), but the Lions then opened up to a 14-point advantage that was aided by a string of eight points to make the score, 22-8. PSU-Altoona took advantage of the large lead and cruised to a 25-11 set final.
The third set began in similar fashion as the second with two quick points by PSU-Altoona before a kill by freshman Eric Santiago-Garcia (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Glen Ridge) to make the score, 2-1. A kill by freshman Luke Maier (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) made the score 5-3 and was followed by three consecutive attack errors by PSU-Altoona that resulted in a 6-5 lead for the Thunder. Momentum swung back in favor of the Lions with four straight points to regain the lead and never trailed in the set again. Trine pulled to within three points on several occasions, but could not take the lead before the Lions tallied the final point for a 25-21 final and the 3-0 match victory.
Santiago-Garcia, Maier and Boren led the Thunder in kills with four each. Monday finished with a team-high five assists to round out the offensive leaders. On defense, Santiago-Garcia tallied a team-best five digs and was followed by Monday with three digs. Boren led the team in blocks with two solo stuffs.
Against Mount Union, the Purple Raiders dominated early by capturing the first two sets. In set one, Mount Union jumped out to an 8-1 advantage. Trine looked to make a rally and later got to within two points, 11-9, following a kill by Santiago-Garcia. The Thunder stayed within striking distance until the Purple Raiders were able to put some distance between the two with a seven-point margin en route to taking a 25-17 win in the first set.
The second set saw Mount Union score the first four points and later built an eight-point margin by a score of 12-4. Trine managed to cut the deficit to five points multiple times, including a 15-10 deficit after a kill by freshman Kyle Dixon (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Twp.), but an 8-1 scoring run by Mount Union put the Raiders out by a commanding 23-11 margin. Mount Union would go on to post a 25-13 victory in the set and took a commanding 2-0 match lead.
The two teams battled in the third set with neither team leading by more than two points. Leading by two points, 24-22, thanks to a kill by Dixon, Mount Union tallied a point to make it a 24-23 game, but a service error by the Raiders gave Trine the point it needed to claim the 25-23 set win and pull to within a set in the match overall, 2-1.
In the fourth set, the score was tied at 3-3 when Mount Union slowly began to pull away and had a four-point edge, 8-4. Trailing by four points (11-7) later in the set, the Purple Raiders took control with eight straight points to make the score 19-7. The home squad ended the set with five consecutive points to take the win, 25-10, and the match by the final of 3-1.
Offensively for Trine, Dixon led the way with nine points and was followed by Boren with seven points. Santiago-Garcia rounded out the top-three with five kills. Monday tallied 23 of the team's 25 assists in the match. Freshman Raviel Winters (Elwood, Ill./Joilet Central) had a team-high eight digs, followed by the duo of Dixon and Santiago-Garcia with seven digs. Santiago-Garcia and freshman Eric Reuther (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) both had a block assist to lead the team.
Trine will wrap-up the two-day event with a pair of matches tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 9). The Thunder will take on Thiel (Pa.) College in their first match at 9 a.m. and will follow with a matchup against Thomas More (Ky.) College at 3 p.m.