NAPERVILLE, Ill. (MCVL.org) - The Carthage Red Men, ranked second in the latest AVCA Poll, broke open a close first set and never looked back against 15th-ranked Mount St. Joseph in the first semifinal of the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League Tournament. Carthage swept the Lions with set scores of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20. Carthage, now 23-1 overall, moves on to Saturday's final against either North Central or Loras. MSJ ends its season at 17-8.
MSJ, seeded third in the tournament, battled point-for-point in set one, trailing 11-10 after an Andrew Chisholm kill. Carthage ran off the next four points, the last on a kill by freshman Kelvin Rivera. Although the Lions were able to pull within three, 19-16, an attack error and a kill by Carthage's Zach Hillig widened the lead to five. MSJ crawled back to 22-19, but Lillig's kill, and attack error and Rivera's set-clinching kill made it 1-0, Red Men.
The second set was Carthage's virtually throughout. After an attack error by the Red Men made it 6-5 in their favor, Carthage ran off seven-straight points. The teams traded points over the next few minutes before the decisive 4-1 run gave Carthage a nine-point lead at 23-14. That flurry was keyed by the very effective serving of Rivera. An MSJ setting error was the final point off the 25-16 set win.
The Lions showed signs of life in set three, turning an early 10-6 deficit into a 12-10 scoreline that forced a timeout from Carthage Head Coach L.J. Marx. The match remained close at 15-13 and again at 19-16 before Carthage scored two-straight points for a comfortable cushion. The
Lions' last gasp came on a Carthage attack error that closed the lead to 22-20. MSJ's service error, attack error and a service ace by Kai Cromwell ended the match.
Lillig led the Carthage attack, tallying 10 kills on 16 attempts for a .625 attack percentage. Rivera hit at a .556 clip on 11 kills. Mason Moore was the other player with double-digit kills, finishing with 11. Matt Reinsel had 34 assists, averaging 11.3 per set. Cromwell led all players with seven digs.
MSJ's Andrew Chisholm finished with eight kills and a .583 hitting percentage. Jason Hascher recorded 12 kills and a .409 hitting percentage. Nathan Herdeman had 39 assists. Hascher was the team's digs leader with six. As a team, Carthage hit .429 (44 kills) while MSJ hit .267 (39 kills).