Boxscore NEWARK, N.J.
– Kicking off the 2014 season, Limestone (0-1, 0-0 CC) was unable to complete the comeback in a 3-1 loss at Division I New Jersey Institute of Technology (1-0, 0-0 EIVA) in an NCAA Division II men's volleyball match on Friday, January 10. The Highlanders secured the victory by scores of 25-21, 25-14, 24-26 and 25-22.
Junior outside hitter Eric Zaun
(Cherry Hill, N.J.) drilled a team-high 13 kills along with six digs and three blocks while junior outside hitter Jon Schaefer
(Lakewood, Calif.) finished with 11 kills, six digs, three service aces and four blocks in his first match in a Saints uniform. They were joined by freshman setters Nick Wildes
(Waukesha, Wisc.) and Luca Wanek
(Schwabisch Gmund, Germany) with 14 and 12 assists apiece in their first collegiate action.
With seven new players on a team that reached the Conference Carolinas Championship a year ago, Limestone didn't miss a beat early on as they took leads of 4-1 and 6-2 in the opening frame. The Highlanders then responded with four straight points to tie it at 6-6, the first of five ties that would see the teams eventually deadlock at 11-11.
From there, NJIT would use a 12-5 run to take a 23-16 advantage late in the match. The Saints then battled back with a fierce 5-0 rally that saw them claw back to within two at 23-21 before a pair of errors cinched a 25-21 Highlanders victory and a 1-0 match lead.
Game 2 would see the teams remain close early on as Limestone trailed just 8-7. That margin would change dramatically, however, as NJIT delivered a staggering 14-4 run that left them with a daunting 22-11 advantage. Over the next several points they would go on to close out a 25-14 victory to go up 2-0.
Facing a quick end to their season opener, the Saints battled through four mid-set ties, knotting at 11-11, before producing an 8-2 run to take a 19-13 lead. The Highlanders, however, would close to within 22-21 behind an 8-3 run, forcing a Limestone timeout. Out of the break, they continued their torrid pace as they took a 24-23 lead, bringing about match point. At that junction, NJIT put the ensuing serve into the net, tying the score, before the Saints forced back-to-back attack errors to post a 26-24 victory and move to a fourth set.
Trailing 12-8 in that set, Limestone notched five consecutive points to pull ahead 13-12 before battling through four ties and deadlocking at 19-19. From there the teams would remain within two points of each other until the Highlanders notched back-to-back points to pull out a 25-22 victory and 3-1 match decision.
Kajetan Borecki and TJ Jurko led New Jersey Institute of Technology with 17 kills apiece while the latter added seven digs and six aces. Zak Robben set up the Highlanders offense with a match-high 51 assists along with seven digs and a pair of blocks and Ryan Thomas chipped in with seven kills and four blocks.
Limestone will continue the northern trip when they play a pair of exhibition's tomorrow, Saturday, January 11. They will face Division III Juniata at 3:30 p.m. before taking on Division I Princeton at 7 p.m. Both matches will be held on Princeton's campus but will not have any statistical or video coverage from the host institution.
Limestone is 1-2 all-time against New Jersey Institute of Technology, dating back to the first meeting on March 29, 2012 … the Highlanders notched a 3-2 victory in Newark, N.J. in that first meeting while the Saints posted a 3-1 decision at the Timken Center on March 19, 2013 … the loss is the Saints first season opening defeat since their inaugural season of 2010 … that season they fell 3-1 to Grand Canyon University on January 29 … today's match marks the earliest that Limestone men's volleyball has taken the court, surpassing the previous mark of January 13, 2012 when they faced King College.