BELMONT, N.C. -- Pierce Pliapol tallied nine kills and a .438 hitting percentage, leading a balanced attack that sparked Belmont Abbey to a 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 26-24) men's volleyball victory over St. Andrews Tuesday night at the Wheeler Center. The win was the first in the career of Head Coach Nolan Albrecht, who took over the reins of his alma mater last April.
Liam Maxwell registered eight kills with Gavin Schaffer adding seven as the Crusaders (1-1) hit .197 including in the contest, including .318 in the second set. Brennan Davis had a team-best 22 assists with four digs, three blocks and two aces, while Rob Valentine added a team-high seven digs. Freshman William Morris contributed seven blocks, including a pair of solos.
After falling behind 6-3 in the opening set, Belmont Abbey stormed back with six straight points on Pliapol's serve for a 9-6 lead. St. Andrews, playing its season opener, surged back ahead 11-10, but a 5-0 Crusader run changed the lead again. With the score 17-15, The Abbey earned three straight points, two on kills by Pliapol, creating enough breathing room in a 25-20 decision.
In the second set, Belmont Abbey rode leads of 3-0 and 5-1 to a 14-9 advantage midway through, but the Knights stormed back with an 8-1 run that gave them a 17-15 lead. The Crusaders trailed 20-19 when they tallied four consecutive points for a 23-20 edge. After a St. Andrews point closed the gap to two, kills by Schaffer and Pliapol resulted in a 25-21 decision.
The third set was the closest as each team had 16 sideouts. Belmont Abbey broke a 9-9 tie with three straight points only to see St. Andrews tie the score at 14 and 17. Another 3-0 run put the Crusaders up 22-19, but the Knights tallied four in a row to take the lead, 23-22. Back-to-back Abbey points set up match point, but a service error sent the set past regulation. However, Maxwell had a kill for another match point, then Davis ended the match with a quick set for the winner.
The Crusaders return to action on Saturday when they travel to Lincoln Memorial.