Men's Volleyball: Raiders Go 2-0 in Opening Weekend

Photo by: Pat Chen
Photo by: Pat Chen

ANGOLA, Ind. - The Mount Union men's volleyball team defeated Thiel (Pa.) 3-1, 25-21, 25-18, 25-23, 25-23 Saturday morning at Trine University. 

The Purple Raiders (2-0) were led by junior Justin Sibbel (Stow / Stow-Munroe Falls) with 15 kills for a .379 hitting percentage, sophomore Jeremy Leyden contributed with a team-high 37 assists. Defensively, sophomore Mark Bruns (Columbus / Upper Arlington) tied his career-high with five blocks while sophomore Steven Grenier (Hawthorn Woods, Ill. / Lake Zurich) added a game-high 11 digs. 

Mitch Patterson paced Thiel (0-3) with 20 kills. 

The Raiders and Tomcats kept it close with seven lead changes and six ties to start the first set. Mount Union finally started to pull away with a 5-2 run and never looked back winning the set 25-21. 

Both teams continued to keep it close in set two with the score tied at 10-10. The Raiders went on an 8-3 run with kills from Sibbel and and freshman Andrew Cross (St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High). Mount Union did not let the Tomcats back with in four for the remainder of the set, winning 25-18. 

The Raiders opened the third set with a 5-2 advantage. Thiel bounced back tying the score at 14-14, before taking its first first lead of the set 16-14. A kill and a block from Sibbel would tie the game once again at 17-17. Both teams went back and forth causing five ties and five lead changes with the last tie at 22-22. The Tomcats went on a 3-1 run to win the set 25-23.

As history would repeat itself, the teams kept the set close, 4-4, until Thiel went on a 4-0 run to grab the 8-4 lead. With kills from Sibbel and Cross, Mount Union went on an 8-5 run cutting the Tomcats lead to one point, 13-12. Thiel responded with three straight point to extended its lead 15-12. Sophomore Sam Matonis (Macedonia / Walsh Jesuit) and Sibbel had back-to-back kills to tie the score back up at 16-16. With three more ties and three more lead changes, the score was tied at 19-19. The Raiders scored four unanswered points, with kills from Sibbel and Cross, and never looked back winning the set and the match 25-23. 

Mount Union is back in action Thursday, Jan. 30 as they travel to Erie, Pa. to take on Penn St.-Behrend at 7 p.m.