Mustangs Blank Wilkes In Inaugural MAC Opener

OWINGS MILLS, Md.. – The Stevenson University men's volleyball snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon at Owings Mills Gym by shutting out the Wilkes University Colonels by a final of 3-0.  The Mustangs led wire to wire in the match never trailing and only being tied three times during the three sets. 

Stevenson (3-4, 1-0 MAC), won the straight set affair by scores of 25-12, 25-14, and 25-14.  It was the first win for the Mustangs in the new Middle Athletic Conference play, as the team moved to the MAC after leaving the Continental Volleyball Conference after last season.

The Mustangs were led by junior Landon Shorts who had a game-high 13 kills, added a block and hit an impressive .812 on the day.  Freshman Garrett Weigel chipped in nine kills and three service aces.  Junior Jared Chin had a great day as well totaling a game-high 29 assists and a service ace, while sophomore Derek Tangorra posted a game-high ten digs.   

Wilkes (2-6, 0-1 MAC), was paced by Dylan Smith with six kills hitting .385.  Daniel Sales had a team-high eight kills but only managed a .071 hitting percentage.  The Colonels got two kills each from Brian Schumacher, Cole Hefner, Michael Henne and Jones Mensah.

Stevenson came out of the game strong looking to put a strong effort forward in their home opener and they did not disappoint as the hosts jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead prompting a quick Wilkes timeout.  The Colonels came out of the timeout and picked up their first points of the day on kills from Smith and Sales.  That momentum lasts a short while as the Mustangs ripped off five in a row to take a 10-2 edge on a kill by Weigel.  Then, with Weigel serving the home side grabbed three more points on kills from freshman Logan Smiley and Weigel, as well as a Wilkes attack error making the score 13-5.  From there the Mustangs never let up the pressure as the visitors would be able to get as close as seven at 15-8 on another Smith kill, but it would not be enough as a kill from senior Alex Klunk capped off the first set 25-12. 

Set number two started out tighter as the two sides spilt the first four points.  With the score tied senior Andy Van Thuyne took to the service line and put on quite the display.  As four consecutive attack errors by Wilkes caused a timeout to be taken by the Colonels.  The run continued after the break for the Mustangs when back-to-back aces and a kill by Klunk opened the margin up to 11-2.  Stevenson pushed the advantage out to ten when Shorts picked up a kill making it 17-7.  Freshman Aleks Melbardis added an ace for an 18-7 advantage.  Stevenson kept that eleven-point edge the rest of the way to take the second set on an attack error by Smith.

The final frame saw the Colonels get the score to 3-2 and the Mustangs picked up the determination to end the match in three as Weigel took three points in-a-row of two aces and an attack error by Mensah putting the score at 7-2.  A pair of kills from Shorts upped the lead to 9-4, which was part of a 5-0 push by Stevenson causing a Wilkes timeout at 12-4 Mustangs.  Off of the timeout, the Colonels nabbed the next point of a Klunk service error, but the guests gave the serve right back to the home team after Sales would be guilty of an attack error.  Then, Chin with the serve added the next three points on an ace and kills from Shorts and Weigel to make the score 16-5.  The two sides shared the following ten points allowing Stevenson to keep the nine-point edge 20-11.  Stevenson kept Wilkes at distance the rest of the day as a kill from Shorts wrapped up the proceedings. 

The Mustangs as a team hit .432 with 40 kills, to the visitors .093 and 22 kills.  Stevenson had a significant advantage in the service game picking up eight aces to the Colonels none.       

The Mustangs will return to action on Thursday, February, 8 when they travel to Dallas, Pa. for a MAC contest against Misericordia University.  First serve against the Cougars is set for 7pm.