Location: Naperville, IL (Gregory Arena) Lisle, IL (Rice Center)
The Lions participated in some highly intense games. The stakes were high because each of the games this weekend counted toward their conference record. The first was against North Central. The Lions went back and forth with the Cardinals, but were not able to come up with a win after losing the fifth set 15-13. Mount St. Joseph then traveled to Benedictine for another highly intense game. This time, the Lions came out on top after coming back from Benedictine winning the first two sets. The Lions won three straight to beat Benedictine, winning the fifth set 15-13.
Mount St. Joseph vs. North Central:
The first game of the day for the Lions was against North Central. These teams were evenly matched as both showed strong teamwork and determination. The game stayed extremely close throughout the whole contest. The first set started tight, until Mount St Joseph was able to pull away after being tied at 8-8. They controlled the set and were able to finish with a win 25-15.
The next set was extremely close. After being tied 20-20, The Cardinals were able to score four straight points to take the advantage over the lions and make the score 24-20. North Central ended up winning the set with a final of 25-22. The third set was no disappointment. With the match tied 1-1, one of the teams were looking to take control. The fight continued for the lead in the match after both teams found themselves at 23-23. A kill by Andrew Chisholm (Cincinnati, OH/ Oak Hills) and an attack error from the Cardinals gave the Lions the set 25-23.
The Cardinals however would not go down easy. The Lions found themselves at the end of the fourth set looking to end the game with a win. Back to back kills from Alex Vohland (West Chester, OH/ Lakota West) and Brett Cooper (Cincinnati, OH/ La Salle) tied the score 24-24. Unfortunately, the Lions could not stop the hitters for North Central from getting the two kills back to back to force the fifth set. The final set to 15 tested the endurance of these athletes. The Lions kept it close, but fell to the Cardinals in the final set to lose 15-13. This gave North Central the win in the match 3-2.
Mount St. Joseph vs. Benedictine:
The Lions then traveled to face Benedictine in another highly competitive conference game. Mount St. Joseph started off a little slow. The first set was mainly controlled by Benedictine. With them being on their home court, they did not seem to want to give anything easy to the Lions. The first set was won by Benedictine 25-21. Going into the second set, Benedictine didn't seem to let up on the intensity. The set was kept close by the Lions defense. They were able to get the score close at the end of the set to tie it up 19-19. It was a tight finish, but Benedictine was able to take the second set as well 25-23.
The Lions found themselves down 2-0 in the set. They had already lost the game earlier in the day to North Central and were determined to not give up. The Lions kept calm and continued to play hard. But Benedictine wouldn't let up. The Lions found themselves backed up against a wall with Benedictine leading 24-19 in the third set up 2-0. Then it happened. The Lions came together and refused to lose. Brett Cooper was able to record four timely kills back to back to get the Lions back in the set. The Lions had taken the lead after a huge block from Nathan Herdeman (Cincinnati, OH/ Elder) and Brett Cooper to make the score 25-24. Darien Bradley (Las Vegas, NV/ Arbor View) ended the third set with a service ace to give the lion's new life, winning the set 26-24.
This comeback in the third set gave the Lions all the momentum. They didn't let go of the adrenaline and dominated the fourth set. They took control early and finished the set 25-14 to force the unexpected fifth set. Against the odds the Lions went into the final set with a ruthless attitude. They had come this far and wanted this win bad. After being tied 13-13 late in the final set, Andrew Chisholm (Cincinnati, OH/ Oak Hills) was able to record a timely kill to put the Lions ahead 14-13. Brett Cooper finished off the set with a service ace to give the Lions the win in the set 15-13 and complete the incredible comeback to win the match 3-2.
Brett Cooper was a huge impact in the Lions come from behind victory against Benedictine. He was able to record 13 kills on 23 attempts and assisted on 6 blocks in the win. He also recorded 14 kills on 24 attempts and assisted on 5 blocks in the loss to North Central. Nathan Herdeman also showed up big for the Lions. In the North Central game he had 48 assists, and against Benedictine he had 52 assist and 6 assisted blocks. Darien Bradley was able to help in the comeback over Benedictine as well. With 12 kills on 25 attempts, Darien also helped on defense with 14 digs.
The Lions will travel to Michigan next weekend for two games. They will face Adrian on 2/17 and Olivet on 2/18. The next home game for Mount St. Joseph will be on 2/24 as they take on Nazareth College in the Harrington Center Gym at 8:00 PM.