BELMONT — The St. Andrews University men’s volleyball team dropped their opening match of the season to non-conference Div. II foe Belmont Abbey College in three tight sets, 20-25, 21-25, 24-26, on Tuesday.
Belmont Abbey pulled away late in the first set after St. Andrews got out to a 7-3 lead before Belmont Abbey rallied to come away with a 25-20 win behind 12 kills and a .435 hitting percentage. The Knights managed just nine kills in the first set.
The second set was a back and forth battle for a majority of the match as the Knights trailed 13-9 before going on a 8-2 run to take a 17-15 lead. Belmont Abbey went on a 10-4 run allowing them to take the second set 25-21 on 12 kills hitting .318. St. Andrews had 11 kills, six errors while hitting .192.
The third set featured a very close set as neither team led by more than three points the entire set. St. Andrews rallied to take a 23-22 lead and it looked like the Knights would steal the set, set but Belmont Abbey closed out the set for the win 26-24 as each team managed nine kills.
Belmont Abbey totaled 33 kills outscoring the Knights but just four. The Knights had more digs overall, 21-19, but the difference came defensively on the block as Belmont had 10.5 to St. Andrew’s three — led by senior middle Sean Hale’s three assisted blocks.
Freshman outside hitter Diego Hernandez led the Knights with 13 kills in his career debut while adding four digs. Senior Robin Imar added 10 kills with seven digs, an ace, and a block for the match. Imar finished last season with a record-setting 476 kills.
Freshman right side Daryn Friedman added three kills on three errors with a two digs and two aces. Sophomore setter Jackson Stark had 25 assists, two digs, and two blocks.
Junior libero Carlos Rodriguez and sophomore libero Jacob DeSouza combined for six digs while sophomore middle blocker Nate Blackwell added three kills and an assist.
The Knights fall to 0-1 overall with the loss while Belmont Abbey improves to 1-1.
St. Andrews have a week off before traveling to Coker College in S.C. on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.