Men's Volleyball: Raiders Roll Past Wittenberg in Home Opener

(Photo by: Pat Chen)
(Photo by: Pat Chen)

ALLIANCE, Ohio - The Mount Union men's volleyball team defeated Wittenberg 19-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-20 Thursday at Timken Gymnasium.

The Purple Raiders are now 6-0 in just their second year of existence while Wittenberg falls to 3-9.

Junior Justin Sibbel (Stow / Stow-Munroe Falls) led Mount Union with 14 kills while sophomore Mark Bruns (Upper Arlington) and freshman Andrew Cross (St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High) contributed with 10 kills each. Also on offense, sophomore Jeremy Leyden (Cuyahoga Falls / Akron Hoban) added a team-high 38 assists while defensively sophomore Steven Grenier (Hawthorn Woods, Ill. / Lake Zurich) had 14 digs and Cross and Sibbel each had three blocks. 

Wittenberg gained a quick 6-3 lead to start the first set before the Raiders scored the next two points to bring the set back within one point 6-5. The Tigers fought back with a 7-3 surge extending their advantage 13-8. Wittenberg widened its lead to as many as seven points before claiming the first set 25-19. 

The Tigers once again started the set with a quick 2-0 lead, but Mount Union bounced back scoring the next four points to gain its first lead of the night 4-2. With two ties and two lead changes, the Raiders started to pull away 14-11 with kills from sophomore Sam Matonis (Macedonia / Walsh Jesuit), freshman Chris Wikar (Clarence, N.Y. / Clarence Senior), and Cross. The Tigers rallied to bring the set within two points, 19-17, but Mount Union ended the set with a 6-2 run, claiming the win 25-19.

As history would repeat itself, Wittenberg took the lead to start the third set 6-2. The Raiders retailiated with a 4-1 run getting kills from Sibbel and Bruns to bring the set within one, 7-6. The Raiders trailed until a Wittenberg error and kill from Cross put them on top, 20-18. Wittenberg fought back with a 5-1 run, reclaiming the lead 24-21. Cross, Sibbel, and Matonis recorded three straight kills to tie the set back up at 24-24. The Raiders finally secured the win after a kill from Wikar and service ace from Matonis, 27-25.

In set four, Mount Union claimed the lead early on and never looked back leading by as many as eight points. The Raiders claimed the set and the match 25-20. 

The Raiders next play a tri-match with Geneva (Pa.) and St. Vincent (Pa.) next Wednesday, Feb. 12 in Beaver Falls, Pa.