The Wittenberg Men’s Volleyball team hosted two home games at Pam Evans Smith Arena this weekend, losing both games. On Friday, April 6, the Tigers played North Central Cardinals from Illinois, falling to a score of 3-1. On Saturday, April 7, the Tigers played the number two team in the country, Carthage College, falling to a score of 3-0.
These loses were particularly devastating became if the Tigers won one or both of the games, it would have helped them earn a spot in the conference playoffs.
Friday’s game against North Central was an offensive game. North Central found early success and they were able to get an early lead of 6-0 before the Tigers scored some points. The Cardinals won the first two sets by the score of 25-10 and 25-17.
Wittenberg was able to win the third set 25-23. Ashton Sellers, ’19, was first player to spark the offense for Wittenberg as he logged 20 kills from 46 attempts with an attacking percentage of .217. The Tigers tallied 13 kills on 40 attacks, for a .175 attacking percentage. The third set was the most entertaining as serves were going back and forth between each team. Wittenberg had led 18-15 before North Central would tie the game back up. A terrific duo block by Isaiah Brock, ’19, and Sellers gave Wittenberg the 23-20 lead, as the Tigers would go on to extend the game to a fourth set.
Wittenberg would take another lead in the final set, but North Central would storm back to tie the game at 10-10. As the two sides battled for the advantage, the scoreboard lit up at 14-14, and then saw the Tigers lead at 20-18 and 22-20, though Wittenberg would be unable to withstand the final Cardinals service rally, falling 25-21 in the final set.
Saturday, the Tigers battled the nationally ranked #2 Carthage College from the AVCA DIII Poll. This afternoon’s game was senior night for Teddy Hesterman and Ryan Roark.
The Tigers converted 36 total attacks for 12 kills with just two errors. The two seniors would find each other for the first point of the game with Roark getting the kill and Hesterman the assist. Each team would battle for position on the scoreboard, with a Justin Luby, ’19, kill giving the Tigers a slight 7-6 early advantage.
After back-to-back Carthage aces, Wittenberg battled back to regain the lead at 15-14 on back-to-back aces by Brock. The two sides would look for the upper hand, with Wittenberg taking a 20-18 lead. A Carthage service rally would give the Red Men back the lead.
Luby started a service rally, including an ace of his own, giving the Tigers the lead at 24-23 before Carthage could come back for the first set win. Wittenberg would record a .200 attacking percentage. The Tigers converted 40 attack attempts for 14 kills with six errors.
After a bad set by Carthage, Wittenberg got the first point, Carthage at 6-2 lead. A kill by Brock would bring the game back to 7-6. A kill from Mason Moldovan, ’20, would bring the Tigers closer with the ,score at 14-10. Then Carthage would extend their lead out to 18-10. Wittenberg would fight their way back in, bringing the score to 20-14, before going down 25-18 in the set.
In the third set, Wittenberg tallied 10 kills on 43 attack attempts with nine errors. The nationally ranked team showed their staying power with an attacking percentage of .368 in the final set, and a .288 kill percentage for the match.
Wittenberg ended their season with a winning record of 14-11 overall, but a record of 4-5 in conference.