LANGHORNE, Pa. — The Southern Vermont College men's volleyball team suffered its first defeat of the season Friday night, losing 3-0 at Cairn University in the first round of the CU Classic.
The Mountaineers dropped the opening set 25-20 before battling the Highlanders to a 26-24 second-game loss. Cairn then closed it out with another 25-20 frame win in the third to move to 3-4 on the year. SVC is now 2-1 in the young season.
SVC senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, California) led all player with 10 kills, committing only two attacking errors on 17 attempts for a .471 hitting percentage on the night, adding four block assists to his line. Classmate Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, New York) provided nine kills and four digs while freshman Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, California) chipped in with eight kills and six digs. Senior setter Herson Canta (Lagunitas, California) tallied 33 assists to go along with three block assists and a pair of digs.
Highlander freshman Micah Godshall (Souderton, Pennsylvania) tied the CU-high of nine kills while ripping across three service aces to go with four digs and a pair of block assists. Fellow freshman Andy Willits (Hatfield, Pennsylvania) also registered nine kills in the win while senior libero Matthew Rhodes (Allentown, Pennsylvania) popped up a match-best 12 digs. Cairn freshman Alex Lower (Waldorf, Maryland) facilitated the Highlander offense with 28 assists on the night.
The Mountaineers edged CU in kills 37-32 and also made one less attacking error (19-18) while recording a .218 team hitting percentage compared to the Highlanders' .173. But the service line was another story as Cairn notched six aces to SVC's one and committed only six service errors to Southern Vermont's 15.
Early in the contest, neither team could sustain momentum as the squads traded points back-and-forth, neither scoring more than two straight through midway of the first set. Then, with SVC holding a tight 17-14 lead, Cairn went on a quick 3-0 run to force a Mountaineer timeout. CU would get the point following the stoppage, only to see Southern Vermont rally off three straight to go up 20-18. That would be the last score of the frame for SVC, however, as the Highlanders went on a strong 7-0 run to close out the set.
The second stanza saw more of the same with neither same able to hold on to the lead throughout the set. Southern Vermont slowly pulled itself to an 18-13 advantage on a Ramirez service ace, but Cairn went on a 7-2 run shortly after to tie things at 21-21. A Highlander miscue put the Mountaineers in front 23-22, but the hosts then scored the next two for game point. After another CU hitting error extended the frame, a tandem block and service ace ended the set to give Cairn a 2-0 match lead.
Once again, neither team could pull away in the third set with Southern Vermont battling to stay alive. The Mountaineers went on top 9-7, but CU scored the next three points to go ahead. Southern Vermont scored five of the next seven for a 14-12 lead, just to see Cairn rip off four straight to regain the upper hand. The Highlanders never trailed the rest of the way, eventually going up 21-15 with a 5-0 run. SVC fought back to make it 24-20, but CU put the match away with a final kill for the opening-night victory.
Southern Vermont concludes the Classic on Saturday with a 12 p.m. match against York College (NY) and a 2 p.m. tilt with Lancaster Bible College.