Tornado drop heartbreaker at Barton in conference final

Photo Credit: Dakota Bastin
Photo Credit: Dakota Bastin

WILSON, N.C. – In a matchup of the co-regular season champions, the King University men's volleyball team nearly won their second straight Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Championship title on Thursday night. The second-seeded Tornado pushed top-seeded and host Barton to extra points in the fifth set. King had a chance at match point, but the Bulldogs came back to take the set 17-15 at the title 3-2.

THE BASICS
FINAL SCORE: No. 1 Barton 3, No. 2 King 2 (23-25, 25-22, 25-13, 25-27, 17-15)
LOCATION: Wilson Gymnasium; Wilson, N.C
RECORDS: King 20-10; Barton 25-4

HOW IT HAPPENED

First Set

  • Barton got off to a hot start, scoring the first four points of the match.
  • The Tornado deficit grew to 15-10 before head coach Ryan Booher used a timeout.
  • Kills from Jon Wheaton, Joshua Kim and Suetonius Harris ignited a Tornado run.
  • A block from Wheaton and Kim pulled King within one and an ace from Sean Kohlhase gave King a 16-15 lead.
  • Harris capped the 7-0 spurt with a kill, giving King a 17-15 lead.
  • The Tornado held the lead and took the 25-23 victory on a kill from Kim.

Second Set

  • Barton held the advantage early in the second set, and opened up a 16-11 lead with three straight points.
  • The Tornado fought back to get within one point on numerous occasions, but Barton scored back-to-back points to take the set 25-22.

Third Set

  • The Bulldogs used a 6-2 run to open up a 9-4 lead, and later used five straight points to extend their lead to 17-9.
  • Barton then scored eight of the final 12 points to take the set 25-13.

Fourth Set

  • Barton scored the first two points of the set, and held a slim advantage for nearly the entirety of the set.
  • The Bulldogs opened up a 20-17 lead with three straight points.
  • However, King acme back and evened the score at 21 on a block from Dalton Johnson and Harris.
  • Barton came back with consecutive, and King returned the favor to even the score at 23.
  • The Bulldogs had two chances at match point, but Harris and Kohlhase responded with kills for the Tornado.
  • A block from Kohlhase and Wheaton gave King the advantage as King took the set 27-25.

Fifth Set

  • Barton got off to a hot start, opening up a 6-1 lead in the fifth set, but the Tornado came storming back.
  • King used an 8-3 spurt to even the score on back-to-back kills from Kohlhase.
  • The Tornado used a 3-0 run to take a 13-12 lead and Kohlhase gave King a chance at match point with a kill.
  • However, Barton answered with back-to-back kills.
  • King evened the score at 15, but Barton scored the final two points to take the set 17-15 and the match 3-2.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Harris led King with 19 kills and hit .368 in the match. He added nine digs and three blocks.
  • Kohlhase and Kim followed with 12 kills each.
  • Kohlhase added 12 digs for the double-double.
  • Along with the 12 kills, Kim added eight digs and five blocks.
  • Wheaton posted 10 blocks, two solo.
  • Chandler Christy dished out 45 assists to go along with eight digs and five blocks.

FOR THE FOES

  • Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year, Angelos Mandilaris led Barton with 27 kills and nine digs.
  • Vasilis Mandilaris followed with 23 and nine digs.
  • Adrian Iglesias chipped in with 13 kills.
  • Oscar Fiorentino handed out 57 assists and added eight digs.
  • Aleksa Brkovic led the defense with 15 digs.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

  • King advanced to the conference title game for the second straight year and third time in program history.
  • The Tornado posted 20 wins for the third straight year, winning a share of the conference title for the third straight season.
  • Wheaton posted 10 blocks, bringing his career total to 409. He is the first player in program history to reach the 400-block plateau.
  • The double-double for Kohlhase is the first of his career.
  • Harris set a career-high with 19 kills.