LEBANON — The McKendree University men's volleyball team split its two matches Saturday on the final day of play in the McKendree Crossover Classic at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center.
The Bearcats rolled to a three-set sweep of Belmont Abbey College before being edged in three sets by Barton College to close out the weekend. The split gives McKendree an overall record of 8-18 heading into its home match on Monday against New Jersey Institute of Technology. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
Freshmen Mike Polizzi, Dustin Borenstein and Eric Abrolat each collected 19 kills over the two matches for McKendree. Polizzi put down a team-high 13 kills in the victory over Belmont Abbey, with Borentstein adding 12 in the same contest. Abrolat registered 10 attacks in the Barton contest. Abrolat also had eight blocks for the Bearcats, including five in the first match versus the Crusaders.
Freshman setter Jack MacLean had a big day with 70 assists, including 43 against Belmont Abbey. MacLean and freshman libero Brice Miller (Althoff Catholic) each had 17 assists in the two matches.
Against Belmont Abbey, McKendree had to hold the Crusaders off down the stretch in all three sets, but were able to record their fourth sweep of the season. The Bearcats won by scores of 27-25, 25-22 and 25-22.
In the first set, McKendree scored the first seven points, which included a pair of kills each from Polizzi and freshman right-side hitter Maalik Walker. Belmont Abbey (3-19) chipped away at the deficit and pulled even at 16-16 which was capped by a 5-1 run. The teams traded leads until the Crusaders were serving for the first set at 24-23 when Polizzi put down another kill to knot the contest for the eighth time. The Bearcats fended off another set point before a kill from Walker started a run of three straight points to give McKendree the first-set win.
Set two was another see-saw affair until McKendree was able to take control late in the contest. The Bearcats overcame a three-point deficit to pull ahead by a count of 19-18. McKendree continued to add to its lead, using a kill from Borenstein to grab a two-set lead over the Crusaders. The Bearcats led throughout the third, building an 11-4 advantage and maintaining the lead to close out the sweep.
In the Barton match McKendree stayed close in every set, but fell to the Bulldogs by scores of 25-23, 25-18 and 27-25. McKendree led for the majority of the first set, although the contest was tight throughout. The Bulldogs used a run of six consecutive points to take the lead for good at 22-18. The Bearcats fought back and pulled within 24-23 thanks to a kill from Borenstein, but Barton was able to grab the final point to take an early lead.
The Bearcats led just one time in the second set, which came at 6-5 following a Barton attack error. The Bulldogs outscored McKendree 7-1 during the middle stages of the set on its way to taking a two-set lead. In the third set, McKendree looked to battle back from its deficit and clawed their way to a 22-21 lead. The teams traded points until the Bulldogs were serving for the set at 24-23. Abrolat tied the contest with a kill, and a Barton attack error put McKendree on the verge of sending the match to a fourth set. But Barton notched the final three points to finish off their sweep.