Trine University coming in as a first year program… seems like just yesterday the North Central Men’s Volleyball team was in its inaugural campaign… but now they’re a national power house – 9th ranked team in the country and looking to win their first Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League game inside Res-Rec.
We open with the Thunder having jumped on top 3-1 but the Cardinals looking to respond. Michael Trunzo sets up Justin Curtis, but his kill attempt dug out. So Trine’s turn to score… but the Cards there to sniff out the attempt by Kyle Dixon. So Trunzo… take two, this time to Jake Zemba… and he smokes one home.
Zemba now on the service line with the first set tied at 6… and Trine setter Hunter Monday cues up Dixon from the back row… and he finds the soft spot in the Cardinal D. Thunder sticking around up 7-6
Coming off an ace, NCC setter Michael Trunzo sends it in, North Central up 11-9. The Thunder sending over something libero Sam Karasch can handle.. and not just handle… but throttle… which is exactly what Zemba does to take a 13-9 lead.
North Central trying to keep the petal to the medal… and a few points later, Boehzidar Kolev gets in on the act… the back set from Trunzo gets the senior in position, and he does the rest. NCC up 14-10.
Cardinals now lead 21-17… but the Thunder trying to play their role in the upset. And from the middle position, Trine’s Eric Reuther gets the kill to bring his team back to within 3.
After four straight Thunder points to draw within two, the Cardinals looking to top off the opening set… and who better to go to than Zemba… who ends it with finesse… 25-22 first set win for the Cards.
To the second! And Trine with an attack chance… but Curtis part of a wall that deflects it back as the Cards get a free ball sent over. And then how about this whack from Nick Lilly out of the back row… NCC up 2-1
Little later on and Zemba on the serve… Monday sets it up to Dan Baren… but his kill attempt snuffed out… then Trunzo with the short, quick set to Anthony Kluzak in the middle. NCC goes on a 5 point streak to take a commanding 11-3 lead.
Following an ace on the serve before, Trunzo back at the line… and how about that! Heat seeks the sideline and nets a second straight ace… NCC up big 18-6 – on cruise control in set two.
And to finish off the set and go up 2-0… NCC gets a little tapper over… and then sets up Curtis… his change-up has Trine out in front… and North Central wraps it up with a pair of aces from Kolev. 25-9 in the second set.
Moving to the third… and Trine attempting to stave off a loss by forcing a fourth set. Monday going cross court and putting it up for Eric Santiago-Garcia… who hammers home one of his team leading 8 kills.
But NCC responding, just as they did in the first two sets. After the gorgeous pass from Lilly, Trunzo dials up Zemba’s number again as the southpaw secures back to back kills to put North Central up 12-9… Zemba with 11 kills in the match.
The final dagger? This monster of a blast coming from Lilly… NCC wins the third 25-17 to secure a three set sweep, then beats Mount St. Joseph the next day to start 2-0 in conference.