DIII NCAA Volleyball championship: Stevenson claims final semis spot
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The sixth-seeded Stevenson men's volleyball team had three players total double digit kills, including 19 by freshman Landon Shorts, as the Mustangs defeated third-seeded Carthage in the NCAA Quarterfinals Friday night at Kidera Gymnasium.
With the win, the Mustangs (26-7) advance to the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Semifinals and will face second-seeded Springfield Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Stevenson avenged a three set loss to Carthage earlier in the season with a 25-21, 29-27, 25-27, 25-18 victory to tie the program record with 26 wins.
A long first rally to open the match went to the Red Men (27-2), who built an early 3-1 lead. A service ace by Shorts tied the set at 4-4 as the single season service ace leader recorded an ace in his 25th match this season. Shorts finished with a season-best six service aces.
Stevenson took its first lead of the set at 6-5, one it did not relinquish, on a kill by freshman Jason Gardner. Gardner and junior Nate Ellis recorded back-to-back kills to take a 13-11 lead and force the first timeout by Carthage.
Following the second Red Men timeout with the Mustangs leading 19-14, Carthage won three-straight points to get within two, 19-17, and force a Stevenson timeout. The teams traded points before the Mustangs built a 24-20 lead, including a service ace by Shorts to earn set point.
The Red Men, who lead Division III in blocks, totaled zero in the opening set as they were held to a .172 hitting percentage compared to .294 for the Mustangs. Senior Patrick Schuyler, who recorded the kill on set point, totaled five in the opening set.
Carthage led 8-5 in the second set but Stevenson rallied to tie the set at 9-9 on a service ace by junior Michael Fehrs before taking its first lead of the set on an attack error. The Mustangs used a 7-1 run to take a 12-9 lead before the Red Men got back within one at 14-13.
Starting at 18-18, the teams tied eight times late in the set with Schuyler recording four-straight Stevenson points. Griffin Shields kept Carthage in the set but Shorts recorded the final three Mustang points including a kill and service ace to close the set.
Senior Kyle Pottieger opened the third set with back-to-back solo blocks as the Mustangs built a quick 3-0 lead to force a Red Men timeout. Shorts posted back-to-back service aces to help Stevenson build a 9-3 lead.
Carthage slowly chipped away at the lead and rallied to tie the set at 17-17 before taking its first lead of the set at 20-19. Trailing 24-22, the Red Men won three-straight points to earn set points at 25-24. A big dig by Schuyler and kill by Shorts, erased the first set point, but Carthage took the third on a kill by Shields.
Four of the final five points for the Red Men in the set came on attack errors by Stevenson.
The fourth set was close early on as neither team led by more than three points. After the two teams traded service errors, the Mustangs won three-straight points to take a 14-12 lead before the Red Men knotted the game at 14-14.
Stevenson won another three consecutive points to take a 17-14 lead and force a Carthage timeout. The Mustangs 5-1 run was halted with back-to-back points by the Red Men, but a kill by Schuyler and the second service ace by Fehrs put the Mustangs up four, 21-17.
Behind two kills by Shorts and a kill by Ellis, Stevenson earned match point at 24-17.
Schuyler finished with 15 kills and 10 digs while Pottieger totaled 10 kills. Senior Rob Wingert recorded 55 assists, five digs and three total blocks while freshman Owen Terroso had 10 digs.