Griffins Close Out The Weekend With Two More Wins; Hadzisalihovic Becomes All-Time Blocks Leader

Photo credit: Ann Schmerbauch
Photo credit: Ann Schmerbauch

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio.—The Fontbonne University men's volleyball team picked up two more wins on the season as they swept past Wittenberg in straight sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-14) and won a five set (25-16, 25-22, 26-28, 23-25, 15-10) thriller over Hiram on Saturday afternoon.

Fontbonne 3 Wittenberg 0

Coming into the outing against the Tigers (11-8; 2-2 MCVL), Emir Hadzisalihovic had 183 career blocks which tied the all-time record. Against Wittenberg, he compiled to block assists, giving him 185 in his career and he now sits atop the record books.

The Griffins (10-3; 4-1 MCVL), finished with 28 kills and just seven errors for a .256 hitting percentage in the victory. They also totaled 14 block assists.

Individually, Stephen Lendy led with his match-high nine kills and .300 hitting percentage. Mark Klusman filled up the stat sheet, ending with seven kills, five digs and four block assists. Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell handed out 22 assists and led them in the digs department, having 11.

Wittenberg, meanwhile, had 31 kills, but committed 32 errors for a -.009 hitting percentage. Justin Luby paced with nine kills, while Ross Russell totaled a match-high 26 assists. Troy Boucher paced them defensively with a match-high 12 digs.

Out of the gate in the first, the Griffins took an 8-2 lead, but the Tigers went on a 12-2 run to gain the advantage back, 14-10.

Later, the Griffins trailed 16-14, but a 6-0 run gave them a 19-16 lead and they never relinquished it from there, going on for the 25-22 win on Klusman's solo block.

In the second set, the Griffins took a 13-6 lead on Sebastian Roca's service ace. The team rolled on from there, totaling 10 kills in the second set and went on for the 25-15 victory.

In the third, it was all Fontbonne once again. The team grabbed a 10-6 lead on a Titans service error. They stretched its lead out to 18-9 on Braden Woolsey's kill and cruised to the 25-14 set and match win.

Fontbonne 3 Hiram 2

Against the Terriers, the Griffins finished with 50 kills, but the story was its defensive effort. The team set new season-high marks in digs (71) and blocks (14), including totaling 20 block assists.

Stephen Lendy totaled a team-high 11 kills in the victory. Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell led the way again with 26 assists, while Zach Rothstein posted a season-high 23 digs.

Hiram ended with 52 kills and 67 digs, but had its struggles from the service line, totaling 24 errors. Cory Fischer led a trio of hitters with a match-high 14 kills. Alex Andrzejewski and Andrew Gard contributed 13 kills each. Setter Jake Lininger filed away 27 assists, while Justin English had a team-high 22 digs.

In the first set, the Griffins took a dominating 17-9 lead on Hadzisalihovic's kill. That was more than enough for Fontbonne as they went on for the 25-16 win.

The quick start carried over into the second as a Hiram service error gave Fontbonne an 11-5 lead. Later in the set, the Terriers trimmed the deficit down to 23-20 on a solo block from Henry Schwendler, though a kill from Stephen Lendy and a Hiram attack error pushed the Griffins to the 25-22 victory.

It was a point-for-point outing for the first time on the day in the third. The two teams eventually met-up at 18-18 on Grant Garza's kill. The Terriers rattled off a 3-0 run to take a 21-18 advantage, but the Griffins narrowed it back down to 22-21 on Nate Paasch's kill.

The Griffins eventually got the lead back at 25-24 on Garza's solo block, but Hiram accounted for the next two points and needed just one more to force a fourth set. James Sauermann kept the Griffins in it with a kill, but a service error and a kill from Cory Fischer gave Hiram the 28-26 win.

In the fourth set, the Griffins were looking to put away the Terriers early as Fontbonne took a 15-10 lead on Sauermann's kill. The team still led 19-14, however, a 6-1 run by Hiram tied the set up at 20-20.

The set was all square at 23-23, but the Terriers forced a fifth and final set, winning 25-23 on two Griffin attack errors.

In the finale, the Griffins this time were able to put away Hiram. Consecutive kills from Stephen Lendy and Woolsey put them ahead 10-6. The Terriers clawed its way back in it at 11-10, but Fontbonne closed out on a 4-0 run, capped off by back-to-back service aces from Lendy to make it a 15-10 final.

The Griffins return to the court next Tuesday night at Greenville. The team will take on Missouri Baptist JV team at 6 p.m., followed by facing the host Panthers at 8 p.m.

Fans make sure to stay updated on throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's volleyball team.