Louisville, KY – On Saturday, the Lincoln College Men’s Volleyball team completed play in the program’s first appearance at the NCVF National Tournament with a first place finish in the DII Silver Division. Lincoln came in third in their pool on Friday after dropping matches to Missouri S&T (24-26, 13-25) and Army (20-25, 21-25) which placed the team in the 16 team field of the Silver Division for single elimination play on Saturday. LC began their run to the championship with a win over Rice University in two sets (25-12, 26-24). The next two opponents for the Lynx would each force a third set, but LC showed they were up to the task by prevailing over Bryant University 23-25, 25-19, 15-7 and Brandeis University 25-20, 23-25, 15-10. The wins set up a championship match against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC). UMBC came into the match with a team made up entirely of seniors and featured two 6’5″ middles and a left side hitter who was among the top hitters in the nation. The Lynx did not back down from their experienced opponent and took the first set in thrilling fashion 25-23 behind the strong play of middle hitters Alex Robles and Michael Wesley. In set two, LC trailed by as much as four, but made a strong comeback to tie the score at 17 before going on an 8-2 run to win the set 25-19. The final point was scored by left side hitter Manny Benitez on a tip that found the floor behind the UMBC block. Lincoln College finished the tournament with a 7-2 record in the event and a 20-7 overall club record on the season.
LC Coach Mark Tippett: Our team really showed up to play in this event. It was quite a feat for our guys to put the disappointment of losing our pool on Friday behind them and come out on Day three with such a tremendous effort. We saw some incredible competition at this event and, even though we had one of the youngest teams and were by far the smallest school in the tournament, we never backed down from any challenge. The final match was a thing of beauty from a coaching perspective. Our team played with energy and passion and we made very few unforced errors. Their big left side hitter was dangerous from anywhere on the court, but we played some great team defense and our middles really stepped up their play to control the net as well as provide a lot of offense. Our setters (Lukasz Kupiec and Bryan Orellana) did a fantastic job of finding open hitters and making smart decisions as well. There are not many teams that get to end their season on a victory, which makes the end to this run all the more special.
Top row: Coach Tippett, Corey Poindexter, Lukasz Kupiec, Alex Robles, Michael Wesley, Manny Benitez, Adam Krzos Deantrius Coleman, Candace Company
Bottom Row: Bryan Orellana, Josue Ramirez, Alec Esparza, Kyle Murphy, Greg Scott, Brandon Anderson