Warriors knock off no. 2 Tigers in season opener

College Sports

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Indiana Tech men’s volleyball team opened up the 2021 season in style Saturday afternoon inside the Schaefer Center as they upset No. 2-ranked Campbellsville University, 3-1 (26-24, 27-25, 24-26, 25-23).

Daynte Stewart had a match-high 14 kills to go along with a .237 attack percentage, three services aces, four blocks and 10 digs. Mason Milan had seven kills and 11 digs while Dante Siracusa had six kills. Brandon Jones dished out 34 assists in his collegiate debut along with six digs while Joey Hermes had 17 digs.

Coming off a come-from-behind victory against Goshen College Friday evening, Campbellsville raced out to an 8-3 lead over the Warriors in their second season after nearly a 40-year hiatus under head coach Kyle Shondell. The Tigers pushed their lead to 13-7 and then to 15-9 and causing the Warriors to call a timeout. A kill from Stewart out of the timeout propelled the Warriors on a 7-2 spurt to come within a point at 17-16 and forcing the visitors to call a timeout. Campbellsville held strong though and maintained the lead for the next 11 points until a 3-0 run, punctuated with a kill from Siracusa, put the Orange and Black on top 23-22 and leading to another timeout from the Tigers. After splitting the next three points to get to a 24-24 deadlock, kills from Chase Christiansen and Stewart gave the hosts the 26-24 win in the opening set.

The tight play continued into the second set, a set that saw 17 ties and 12 lead changes, with neither side holding more than a point lead until the Tigers got up 8-6 following a 3-0 spurt. Campbellsville grew their lead to 13-9, but four Tiger errors, along with a block from Stewart, tied the match up at 14-14 and led to a CU timeout. The Warriors found themselves trailing 16-14, but used a 3-0 lead to go back on top 17-16. Tech continued to fight back against the Tigers and eventually got on top 23-21, only to see the visitors go up 25-24. A service error from CU was followed by an attack error on the Tigers while Milan put the Orange and Black up 2-0 match with a kill for the 27-25 set win.

Finding themselves down 2-0 for the second time in less than 24 hours, the Tigers knew they could not let the momentum slip too far away in the third. The Warriors attempted to grab the momentum for good as a 3-0 spurt put them up 17-14 before extending their lead to 19-15. CU battled back to knot the set up at 19-19 and despite falling behind 23-20, did not falter as they came roaring back 4-0 run to force set point. A kill from Raekwon Rogers made it 24-all, but the visitors took the next two points to make it a 2-1 match.

The Warriors got out ahead 7-5 in the fourth, but the Tigers showed their toughness by battling back to take a 12-11 lead. The teams continued to battle and combined for 13 ties in the set. Tech went ahead 18-17 to force a Campbellsville timeout, and grew their small advantage to 23-20 to force the Tigers to use their last timeout to try and stave off the upset. The Tigers managed to fight off two match points to make it a 24-23 set, but a service error from CU made it official as the Warriors clinched the biggest win in program history.

Tech (1-0) returns to action on Wednesday, January 13 as they head to Quincy University for a non-conference matchup. First serve is set for 2 p.m. from Pepsi Arena.

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