The Emmanuel College Mens Volleyball team lost a heart breaker on Saturday at the hands of the Crusaders of North Greenville University. In the home opener for the Lions, the energy in the room was palpable. Family, friends, and alumni all showed up to see the explosive new Lions in action.
Set one saw Emmanuel come out to a very hot start with 15 kills and only 4 errors for a .355 clip while the Crusaders hit a negative .125. The high flying Lions also added a handful of blocks to win the first set 25-18. The Lions followed up their first set win with an even better second set. Emmanuel hit for a season high .406 with another 15 kill performance but this time with only 2 errors. Hitting efficiency, blocking, and relentless defensive awareness allowed the Lions to capture the second set 25-16.
After the first two sets, Emmanuel seemed to have their first Conference match in the bag; but, the Crusaders of North Greenville were not to be outdone. Although the Lions again hit for .406 with 15 kills and 2 errors NGU's offense came alive as well and some well timed attacks edged out the young Lions with a score of 30-28 to steal a third set victory over Emmanuel.
The third set NGU victory seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the young Lions as in the fourth set Emmanuel was only able to muster 8 Kills with 5 errors. The Crusaders, revitalized play was able to yet again tame the Lions and tie the match up at two sets a piece.
In the fifth and final set the Crusaders came out hot and built an early lead that Emmanuel was never able to catch up to. NGU hit .263 in the final set taking the match 3-2.
Emmanuel was led by Junior middle blocker Ackeem West. West had 16 kills with 2 errors and hit for aphenomenal .451 while also adding 7 total blocks and a service ace for the match. Freshman middle blocker Don Thompson and senior outside Gilberto Cervantes also chipped in 10 and 13 kills respectively. Caleb Bonaventure spread the offense well giving him 50 assists and outside hitter Manuel Melenciano lead the way defensively for the Lions picking up 15 digs on the night.
Even though the Lions out hit, dug, and blocked the Crusaders this is the second Conference loss for the Lions but they will have another chance to get their first Conference win this coming weekend as they travel to Barton and Mount Olive.