Mustangs Open Up Trip To Illinois With Pair Of Victories

Mustangs Open Up Trip To Illinois With Pair Of Victories

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - The eleventh-ranked Stevenson University men's volleyball team gave up a 2-0 sets advantage to the host North Central College (Ill.) Cardinals before digging in to claim the fifth set and the victory in their first match of the afternoon.  Then, in the Mustangs final contest of the day, they defeated the Aurora University Spartans in straight sets to go 2-0 on Saturday in tri-match action at Gregory Arena. 

  • Set scores were 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 18-25, and 15-11.
  • Stevenson (2-1) got out to an early 7-5 lead on a pair of kills from Logan Smileybut responses by Michael Trunzo and Jacob Zemba leveled the score.
  • Two service aces for Smiley and a kill off the arm of Jason Gardner opened up an 11-7 edge.
  • With the score 14-13, Stevenson extended the margin using a 7-1 run ending on an assisted block between Nate Reynolds, Christian Taylorand Smiley making it 21-14.
  • North Central (3-3) would battle back with a kill from Anthony Kluzak bringing it to 24-23, but a Gage Mize serve error gave the set to the guests.
  • In the second the Mustangs opened a 7-0 advantage out of the gate on kills by Landon Shorts, Gardner, and Smiley.
  • After trailing a mishit by Gardner let the Cardinals all the back to even at 14-14.
  • The set would be tied two more times 16-16 and 17-17 before Stevenson closed on an 8-4 run as a kill from Shorts gave the visitors a 2-0 lead.
  • With the third tied at 13-13, the hosts took three in a row to take a 16-13 edge on a Bozhidar Kolev kill.
  • The Cardinals maintained that advantage the rest of the way to win 25-22.
  • In the fourth, North Central maintained control from start to finish as the Mustangs got as close as 9-7 after being knotted at 4-4 en route to a 25-18 win.
  • The fifth went back-and-forth as it saw eight different ties prior to the guests closing on a 7-3 run as an attack error by Kluzak gave Stevenson the 15-11 win.
  • Shorts led the way with 24 kills, seven digs, and two blocks.
  • Smiley added 18 kills, four blocks, and three aces.
  • Gardner also hit double-digit kills 13.
  • Taylor posted a match-high 60 assists.
  • Stevenson hit .298 to North Central .270.

  • Sets scores were 25-23, 25-20, and 25-21.
  • Aurora (0-1) led all the way out to 19-16 before two kills by Gardner and a block from Nathan Bosse tied the score at 19-19.
  • Kills by Smiley and Reynolds gave Stevenson (3-1) their largest advantage of the set 23-21.
  • The Spartans would not go quietly as a mishit by Stevenson and a kill from Bandon Langys leveled things 23-23.
  • A service error off the arm of Daniel Pytel and a solo block by Reynolds gave the Mustangs the set 25-23.
  • Stevenson started strong in the second jumping out to a 6-1 lead on an attack error by Justin Elliott.
  • The Mustangs continued to hold the lead until Aurora got three straight on kills from Pytel and Langys to snag a 13-12 edge.
  • After a bad service made it 13-13 Stevenson never looked back as they jumped out to a 24-20 advantage before a combination block from Bosse and Shorts took the frame 25-20.
  • The third set would go back and forth and see six ties before Stevenson grabbed control as kills from Smiley and Tanner Stauffer made it 20-18 for the Mustangs.
  • Aurora hung tough staying within two at 22-20 when a service error by Tim Breiter allowed a Smiley kill to end the match a few points later 25-21.
  • Smiley was the only the Mustang to post double-digit kills with 10.
  • Shorts added four kills, four digs, two blocks, and a pair of aces.
  • Taylor finished with 19 assists. 

  • With the five-set win against North Central, the Mustangs go to 1-1 on the season in matches that go the distance.
  • The victory against the Cardinals was the first over any team appearing in the AVCA Top 15 poll or a team that was receiving votes.
  • Smiley was the only Mustang to record double-digit kills in both matches, while Taylor posted double-digit assists in each contest.
  • On the afternoon 12 different players saw the court for Stevenson.
  • The 24 kills tallied by Shorts in the North Central match was a career-high and the third of his Mustangs career with 20-plus.
  • Smiley's 18 kills were the most of his time so far at Stevenson.

  • The Mustangs continue their trip in the State of Illinois tomorrow Sunday, January 20 with another tri-match as they square off against the No. 14 Benedictine University (Ill.) and Augustana College (Ill.).  First serve versus the Eagles is set for 1pm while the match-up against the Vikings is slated to begin at 3:30pm.