Trojans sweep Pfeiffer in historic home match
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 5, 2010 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Even fourth-year starters get the jitters. Especially when a season-opening match has more meaning.
Noel Garcia pounded out a match-high 18 kills and Mount Olive College claimed a historic 30-24, 30-23, 31-29 victory over Pfeiffer University on Thursday evening at Kornegay Arena. It was the first-ever Conference Carolinas men's volleyball match for either program.
"Since I've been here, this (conference play) is the only thing I've waited for and believe it or not, you still get jitters when you get on that court and you're playing your first conference match," said Garcia, a senior opposite from Havana, Cuba.
"It's a pretty exciting time."
Christiaan Rombaut provided 15 kills and freshman Adam Miracle contributed 11 kills in his collegiate debut for the Trojans, who won their fourth consecutive season-opening match. Senior setter Alex Hoekstra boosted his career assist total to 1,015 with a 53-assist output in the straight-set sweep of the Falcons, a first-year team.
Senior Felix Reimundo paced the MOC defense with eight digs.
The Trojans (1-0 overall, 1-0 CC) closed out the first two sets with strong net play. Jose Lanier served two of his team-high five aces late in the opening set to give MOC a 26-18 advantage.
Pfeiffer climbed within 26-21 before Garcia and Miracle connected on back-to-back kills to force set point. Lanier and Rombaut double-blocked the Falcons' Andrew Whalen to seal the first set.
Garcia's kill off a solo block gave Mount Olive a six-point lead late in the second set. The teams traded points before Miracle clinched the set with a monster cross-court kill off Hoekstra's assist.
The Falcons (2-3, 0-1) refused to go away.
The teams battled through nine ties in the decisive third set and Pfeiffer fended off two match points before Rombaut sealed the outcome with a middle-court kill.
"They're a young team, but they don't go away," said Garcia of Pfeiffer. "They keep fighting hard and that's a good thing about being young ... you never give up and you have energy. That's something we have to respect from every opponent we play this year."
Mount Olive surrendered 37 points -- 16 each from kill errors and the service game, and five receiving miscues. Meanwhile, Pfeiffer yielded 35 total points on errors.
"We controlled the game at the net pretty well," said Hoekstra. "There were glimpses of really good play and there were glimpses where we looked average or below average. We have a lot of room for improvement and that's what is good because we want to peak at the end (of the season)."