BELMONT, N.C. -- Liam Maxwell topped double figures in kills for the fourth time in five matches with 15 and engineered a 10-0 run on his serve in the fourth set, leading Belmont Abbey to a 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 25-12) Conference Carolina men's volleyball victory over Lees-McRae Tuesday night at the Wheeler Center. Pierce Pliapol and Gavin Schaffer added nine kills each, giving the Crusaders (2-3, 1-1) their first victory in league play.
The Abbey hit .284 as a team, while limiting the Bobcats (1-6, 0-3) to a .210 hitting percentage. Brennan Davis tallied 26 assists, and seven digs, while Rob Valentine registered 11 digs. Wes Rogman led LMC with 18 kills.
In the opening set, Belmont Abbey stretched an 8-6 lead to 12-6 with four straight points. The advantage expanded to 19-12 before the Bobcats ran off five straight points to trail by only two, 19-17. The Crusaders tallied back-to-back points for a four-point edge, but Lees-McRae answered with consecutive points of its own. From there, the teams traded the next seven points for a 25-22 BAC win.
Belmont Abbey broke a 3-3 tie in the second set with two straight kills, and never trailed again, although the Bobcats hung tough. An 8-5 Crusader advantage turned into 14-7 with a 6-2 run, but Lees-McRae crept to within two, 17-15. At 18-16, The Abbey won three straight to create separation, then held off one final push for another 25-22 victory.
Lees McRae stayed alive in the third by turning a 15-13 deficit into a 16-15 lead. The score was tied at 20 when the Bobcats took back-to-back points to surge ahead, then used two more points to earn set point at 24-21. Two points later, they forced a fourth with a 25-22 win of their own.
The fourth set was all Belmont Abbey. After the team split the first four points, the Crusaders score four straight for a 6-2 edge. Lees McRae cut the margin to 13-11 when a kill by Schaffer made the score 14-11 and brought Maxwell to serve. The sophomore served nine times, registering a kill and five aces on the run to break open the match, 23-12. After the teams traded points, Mark Timmons ended the match with another ace, the Crusaders' 12th of the contest.
Belmont Abbey heads North this weekend for non-conference action at Sacred Heart on Friday and NJIT on Saturday.