Cincinnati, Ohio- The Wittenberg University men's volleyball team jumped back above the .500 mark on the season on Saturday afternoon with a pair of victories against Mt. St. Joseph, 3-1, and Thomas More, 3-0, at MSJ's Harrington Center in Cincinnati. The Tigers now own an overall record of 5-4 on the young season, with two of the four losses coming against teams currently ranked in the top-15 of the AVCA Div. III men's poll.
Mount St. Joseph Match
The stormed out of the gates strong against the host Lions, leading 2-0 after two sets of play, posting a 25-19 victory in the opening set and a 25-21 triumph in set two. MSJ did post a 25-20 victory in the third set, but Wittenberg put the match away in the fourth set with a 25-20 decision of its own. Three different Tigers hit double figures in kills in the match, led by senior middle hitter Isaiah Brock slamming down 16 kills and committing just three hitting errors in 23 total attempts for an eye-popping .565 hitting percentage. Senior middle hitter Ashton Sellers also added 12 kills in the match, while sophomore outside hitter Deion Woodson was a dual-threat in the victory with 11 kills and seven digs. The Tigers split the setting duties in the match, with senior Ross Russell just missing out on a double-double with 25 assists and nine digs, while junior Noah Wissel added 19 assists and six total digs. In addition to his offensive prowess in the match, Brock also contributed on the defensive side of the net with four blocks (1 solo, 3 asst.) and three digs.
Thomas More Match
The Tigers then rolled to a straight-set victory over Thomas More in the second match of the day, winning 25-12 in set one, 25-18 in set two and finally putting the match away with a 25-19 triumph in the third and final set. Despite no players hitting the doube-digit mark in kills, the Tigers had a balanced offensive attack against the Saints, led by sophomore middle blocker Gabriel Lamar finishing the match with seven kills and no hitting errors in 11 attempts for a near-perfect .636 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Jackson Tyler also had a solid stat line against the Saints as he tallied seven kills and committed just two hitting errors in 12 attempts for a .417 hitting percentage. Wissel and Ross again shared the duties at the setter position with Wissel dishing out 13 assists and Russell handing out 11, while senior defensive specialist Troy Boucher led the Tigers on the defensive side of the court with six digs. In addition to his 11 sets in the match, Russell also added three service aces against TMC.
Thoughts from the Bench:
"The team did a really good job of focusing on the things we wanted to work on today and it resulted in two great wins," said head coach Ryan Thompson. "It's great to start a winning streak as we head into conference play next weekend."
The Tigers will return to action next weekend for their first two league matches of the season as members of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC). Wittenberg opens the road trip on Friday (2/8) night with a 7:00 p.m. match at Geneva (PA), before making the short trek to Hiram on Saturday (2/9) morning for an 11:00 a.m. match against the Terriers. Wittenberg will also take on Brooklyn (NY) in a non-conference neutral site match at Hiram at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.