NAPERVILLE, ILL. -- The Trine University men's volleyball team was defeated by No. 9 nationally-ranked North Central (Ill.) College, 3-0, in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League opener in Naperville, Ill.
North Central (11-7, 1-0 MCVL) scored the first point of the opening set, but Trine (4-13, 0-1 MCVL) then scored three straight points that included kills by freshmen Dan Boren (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead) and Eric Reuther (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) to take a 3-1 lead. The Cardinals eventually came back to take the lead and gained some breathing room with a 4-0 run that led to a 13-9 advantage.
The Cardinals never trailed in the set again, despite Trine getting to within two points multiple times that included a 19-17 deficit following an attack error by the home team. North Central began to pull away and led by as many as six points late, 24-18. The Thunder made a final rally and rattled off four-straight points highlighted by kills by freshman Eric Santiago-Garcia (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and junior Hunter Monday (Beech Grove, Ind./Lutheran) that made it a two-point game, 24-22. Following an ensuing North Central timeout, the Cardinals tallied the final point they needed to claim the set, 25-22, and take an early 1-0 match advantage.
Trine stayed with North Central early in set number two, but a series of scoring runs allowed the Cardinals to quickly take control. Leading by 10 points, 19-9, North Central ended the set with a 6-0 run to win by a final of 25-9 and jump out to a 2-0 match lead.
In the third set, the two teams swapped leads early in the game with neither team leading by more than two points. With the score even at 7-7, a kill by Santiago-Garcia and an attack error by North Central, the Thunder led by two points, 9-7. The Cardinals then scored five straight points to take a 12-9 margin and never trailed again. Trine worked its way to within two points, 15-13, when North Central went on another run, this time a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 20-13. North Central maintained a sizeable margin the rest of the way en route to posting the 25-17 final and the 3-0 match victory.
Freshman Kyle Dixon (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Twp.) and Santiago-Garcia both led the team in kills with eight each. Boren was third with four kills. Monday led the team in assists with 19. In addition, Dixon recorded the only aces for the team with a pair.
On defense, the duo of Monday and freshman Blake Grosse (Belleville, Ill./Belleville Twp. West) led the way in digs with five each. Dixon, Reuther and Boren all tied with four digs each.
Trine will return to action tomorrow (Saturday, Mar. 2) when the team travels to Kenosha, Wis. to take on Carthage College in a MCVL match. The two squads are set to square off at 4 p.m. EST.