BELMONT, N.C. -- Robert Nixon had a season-high 13 kills and Liam Maxwell and Brennan Beyner each reached double figures in the category as Belmont Abbey gutted out a hard-fought 3-1 25-18, 27-29, 31-29, 25-17) victory over Limestone in men's volleyball action Tuesday night at the Wheeler Center.
The victory was the fourth straight in conference play, the first time that Belmont Abbey has reached that in the five-year history of the program. The Crusaders improved to 8-16 overall and 7-10 in league play. Limestone, which was locked into the No. 4 seed for the conference tournament based on other results, falls to 11-9, 11-5.
Maxwell finished with 13 kills, 11 digs and a .314 hitting percentage, while Beyner hit .562 on 11 kills and two errors in 16 attempts. Bryce Sullivan totalled 47 assists, while David Radoszewski registered 12 digs.
In the opening set, Belmont Abbey trailed 10-9, but ran off three straight points. After Limestone answered with a pair to make the score 13-12, another 3-0 run put the Crusaders up 16-12. BAC countered a Saints point with a 4-1 run that pushed the lead to 20-14 enroute to the victory.
Belmont Abbey led 5-4 in the second before three straight points gave Limestone the lead. The Saints stayed in control until the Crusaders evened the set at 23-23. After saving two straight set points at 24-23 and 25-24, The Abbey gained back-to-back points for a 26-25 lead. Each team survived another set point before Limestone eked out a 29-27 victory.
The third set featured 16 ties and six lead changes before also needing extra points. The teams were within two points of each other before Belmont Abbey broke a 9-9 tie with three straight points. The lead stretched to 16-12, but Limestone clawed back to 18-17, before the Crusaders tallied three straight. The Saints responded with four straight to even the set at 21-21. The teams traded points until 29-29, when back-to-back attack errors put The Abbey up 2-1.
In the final set, Limestone scored the first two points but Belmont Abbey answered with two straight and five of the next seven points for a 5-4 lead. The Crusaders gained six straight points on Maxwell's serve to turn a 12-11 lead into 18-11 and never looked back. A block assist by Gavin Schaffer and Beyner ended the match.
Belmont Abbey concludes the regular-season Friday night at 7 p.m. against Erskine. The Crusaders, who are still alive for the No. 5 seed, will honor three seniors in a pregame ceremony.