ELIZABETHTOWN, PA. -- Freshman Kyle Dixon (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) had a match-high 14 kills and also led all players with 11 digs as the Trine University men's volleyball team defeated Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, 3-0, in Elizabethtown, Pa.
Dixon was one of two Thunder players to finish in double figures in kills with freshman Eric Santiago-Garcia (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Glen Ridge) adding 10 kills. Junior Hunter Monday (Beech Grove, Ind./Lutheran) set up the offensive attack with 34 assists and tied teammate and freshman Luke Maier (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) for the team-lead in service aces with two each.
Dixon was the lone Trine player in double digits in digs with his match-high 11. Junior Blake Grosse (Belleville, Ill./Belleville Twp. West) was second with seven digs and Santiago-Garcia was third with six digs.
Freshman Jackson Condrey (Spokane, Wash./Ferris) had three total blocks (three assists) to tie for the match high, while Dixon, Maier, and freshman Eric Reuther (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) all had two blocks.
The two teams played three close sets in the match that saw Trine (5-15) trail by four points, 11-7, in the first set before a 7-2 scoring run by the Thunder swung momentum and the lead in favor of the visitors with a score of 14-12. Dixon tallied two of his kills during the run in addition to kills by Santiago-Garcia and freshman Dan Boren (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead). Elizabethtown (5-14) eventually came back to regain the lead, 16-15, when Trine scored four straight points to take the lead back and never trailed again. The Blue Jays got to within a point twice late in the set, but wouldn't tie or take the lead before the Thunder claimed a 25-21 victory.
Elizabethtown led early in the second set, but Trine gradually took control of the game and built a five-point lead following back-to-back kills by Maier and Santiago-Garcia that made the score, 16-11. The Blue Jays then rattled of five unanswered points to tie the game and eventually jumped out to a two-point advantage, 19-17. Trine regained momentum with an ensuing 5-1 run to go back out in front for good. Elizabethtown captured two Trine set points to make it a one-point game, 24-23, before the Thunder knotched the final point on a kill by Monday to claim the 25-23 set win and take a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Trine looked to take control of the third set early with a 7-2 advantage that included a string of four offensive points that included two kills by Monday, a kill by Dixon and a service ace by Boren. The Thunder went on to lead by as many as six points on two occasions, including a 15-9 lead after a kill by Boren. Elizabethtown stayed within striking distance, however, and came back to tie the game twice, including a 22-22 stalemate before the Blue Jays took a two-point margin, 24-22. Three straight kills by Trine put the Thunder in position to win the set, and the match, with a score of 25-24. But a Trine attack error deadlocked the teams at 25-25 forcing extra play. Back-to-back kills by Dixon and Santiago-Garcia sealed the victory for the Thunder with a final of 27-25 and the 3-0 match sweep.
Trine will travel to Aston, Pa. tomorrow (Thursday, Mar. 7) to take on Neumann University in a non-conference match. The two teams will square off at 7 p.m.