Men’s Volleyball is Back in Swing of Things

Photo provided by Steve Woltman: Lucas Yanez hits the ball. 

Nicole Kappelman, Assistant Sports Editor

Lewis University’s men’s volleyball is already heading toward a stronger start than its previous 2012-13 debut. After finishing with an overall record of 20-10 last season, the men’s team has begun the 2014 campaign with a 6-2 overall record thus far (as of Jan. 25).

Despite losing the first game of the season to UC Irvine, senior setter B.J. Boldog had a floor-high 39 assists against the No. 1 ranked Irvine. Boldog has now become the leader with 3,395 total assists.

“B.J. is an incredible player and person,” head coach Daniel Friend said. “His work ethic, attitude and overall development over the past four years have helped to push this program to a top ten level, two regular season MIVA titles, one MIVA conference tournament championship, a final four and several personnel accolades. I couldn’t think of a better player to hold a record for Lewis men’s volleyball.”

The No. 10 ranked Lewis team rallied back a few days later when they upset No. 3 ranked BYU. Winning the match 3-1, junior outside hitter Greg Petty led the Flyers with 16 kills, while junior libero Lucas Yanez had five assists and 10 digs.

With their Jan. 5 match against USC canceled, the team took on No. 4 ranked Stanford just six days later. Petty led the way with 15 kills, while junior opposite Eric Fitterer collected 11 kills and Boldog had 35 assists. Despite the efforts displayed, the Flyers lost the game in four matches, 3-1.

Sophomore middle blocker Bobby Walsh paved the way for the Flyers 3-0 victory against the University of Pacific later that day. Walsh led the team with a season high of eight total blocks, including three solo blocks and five block assists. Redshirt junior outside hitter Geoff Powell collected seven kills, seven digs and three block assists in the sweep against the tigers.

After putting on a strong defensive display, Walsh was named the MIVA (Midwest- ern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) defensive player of the week. Not only did the Mount Carmel native have a season high of eight total blocks against Pacific, but he also tallied an average of 1.86 blocks-per-set and hit .269 with 10 kills in the 3-0 sweep.

“Bobby is in his second year with us and has been an anchor on the defensive and offensive side thru the middle,” Friend said. “He has started this year where he left off last year, if not better. Our team as a whole has also continued a great team defensive effort this year.”

The men’s team took on the Trojans of Mount Olive on Friday Jan. 17 where Powell led the Flyers with 16 kills, five digs and one block assist. Petty collected 12 digs and three kills, while Yanez had 10 digs.

The Flyers won against Mount Olive, three matches to one.

The following day, the Flyers defeated Erskine College, improving their overall record to 4-2. Will McCall, redshirt sophomore outside hitter, paved the way with a career-high 13 kills, four digs, two assists and one block assist. Redshirt junior outside hitter Eric Butch collected nine kills, seven digs, five block assists and one solo block.

Traveling to the east coast the following weekend, the Flyers set off to play Harvard on Friday Jan. 24 and Sacred Heart on Saturday Jan. 25. Defeating Harvard in four matches, 3-1, Powell again led with 15 kills, 10 digs and three block assists. Petty also collected 11 kills, five digs and three block assists, helping the team advance to 5-2 on the season. Boldog had a floor-high 45 assists, and Yanez had a career-high 11 digs and three assists.

Defeating Sacred Heart the following day, 3-0, the Flyers improved their record to 6-2. Petty, Powell and Boldog were just a few of the key players who aided in the win against the pioneers.

“I think we have gotten off to a good start,” Friend said. “We are 6-2 on the year. Two wins against ranked teams and taken care of the other ones. We continue to improve every day and look forward to opening our first MIVA conference against No. 1 Loyola next week.”

The men’s team played Missouri Baptist University on Thursday Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. For a look back at the game, go to www.lewisflyers.com.

Nicole Kappelman
Nicole Kappleman is the sports editor for the Flyer.

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