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Saints Men's Volleyball Begins 2020 Season With Two Shutout Victories at Michigan Men's Volleyball Invitational

Saints Men's Volleyball Begins 2020 Season With Two Shutout Victories at Michigan Men's Volleyball Invitational

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Siena Heights men's volleyball team began the 2020 campaign with two 3-0 wins over Olivet College and Lawrence Tech University on the first day of the Michigan Men's Volleyball Invitational held at Aquinas on Friday. Junior Bryce Johnson (Pickerington, Ohio) led the Saints in kills with 12 against the Comets and nine against the Blue Devils.

THE BASICS

Final Scores: Siena Heights 3, Olivet 0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-17) / Siena Heights 3, Lawrence Tech 0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-23)

Location: Grand Rapids, Mich. (Sturrus Center)

Records: Siena Heights (2-0), Olivet (0-1), Lawrence Tech (0-2)

HOW IT HAPPENED

Siena Heights vs. Olivet

The Comets jumped out to a 3-2 lead early in the opening set. A kill by Alex Garavalia (Kouts, Ind.) tied the score while a service ace by reigning WHAC Setter of the Year, Emilier De Jesus and an Olivet attack error gave the Saints their first lead since the 1-0 start of set one. The teams would trade scores for much of the rest of the set on the way to a 25-22 decision in favor of Siena Heights.

An attack error and kills from Johnson and Kevin Gomez (La Estrella, Colombia) gave the Saints a 3-0 advantage to start the second set. Despite Siena Heights outhitting the Comets, the score remained close through the first half of set two as the Saints held a slim 10-9 lead. Kills by Garavalia and Johnson ended a 3-0 run that gave SHU the 12-9 edge. Siena held a .480 to .125 advantage in hitting percentage for the set on the way to a convincing 25-17 win that put Olivet in the risk of being swept.

Much like the previous two sets, the third remained close all the way to an 8-7 score in favor of the Saints. Johnson rattled off three kills in a 4-0 run for Siena Heights that built a 12-7 lead. The Comets brought the deficit to three points twice (15-12 & 17-14) but the Saints remained in control for a 25-17 decision to end the match.

Siena Heights vs. Lawrence Tech

Seven errors by the Blue Devils allowed the Saints to pull ahead 10-3 in the first set. Siena Heights continued attacking the Lawrence Tech defense as the team built a huge lead on the way to a 25-16 win for the 1-0 lead.

Three errors by the Blue Devils created a 4-0 run for Siena that gave the Saints a 7-3 lead in the second. A 3-0 run later would push things to 14-9 in favor of SHU. Six-straight points would increase the lead to double-digits (24-14) before a final point gave the Saints a 25-16 decision and a 2-0 lead.

The Blue Devils rallied in the third and held a 10-7 lead to get things started. Trailing 14-9, Johnson sparked a 4-0 run for the Saints that cut the deficit to 14-13. Another 4-0 run for SHU was sparked by a kill from Freshman Marc Arsenault (Plainfield, Ill.) and the Saints held an 18-17 lead. LTU tied the score at 18, 19, 21, and 22. Freshman Bernard Bell (Forest Park, Ill.) and Johnson each recorded a kill that gave SHU a 24-22 lead and forced a Lawrence Tech timeout. Coming off the break, the Blue Devils registered a kill but Johnson put an exclamation point on the match with a kill to end the match with a 25-23 set-three victory.

TOP SAINTS

• Johnson finished with 31 kills, seven digs, and three blocks to lead the Saint offense in both victories.

Keegan Crawford (Columbus, Ohio) paced the Siena Heights offense with 53 assists on the day. He also contributed defensively with eight digs.

• De Jesus was the defensive leader totaling 22 digs. His 12 digs against LTU were a match-high. He also helped score points as a server with three service aces.

Evan Cashen (St. Joseph, Mich.) finished with six kills, two aces, six digs, and a block against the Comets.

• Gomez totaled seven kills, an ace, two digs, and a block to help in the 3-0 win over Lawrence Tech.

THE OPPOSITION

Olivet

• Aaron Smith led Olivet with nine kills.

• Aaron Giorgi finished with 32 assists to help control the flow offensively for the Comets. He was also the leader on defense with 11 digs.

Lawrence Tech

• Zachary Narkiewicz led the Blue Devils with nine kills.

• Jacob Paige had 23 assists and two digs.

• Jake Rajewski was the leader defensively with 11 digs.

UP NEXT

Saturday's matches were moved to Sunday due to weather. The Saints will see Adrian College at 12:00 p.m., EST before ending the tournament with a 6:00 p.m., match against host Aquinas.