BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Liam Maxwell tallied 19 kills and Belmont Abbey forced a fourth set, but top-seeded King was too much for the No. 4-seeded Crusaders in a 3-1 (25-12, 25-19, 25-27, 25-15) victory in the semifinals of the 2018 Conference Carolinas Men's Volleyball Championship. The Abbey ends its season at 13-16 after advancing in the tournament for the second time in the six-year history of the program.
Maxwell hit .318 with only five errors in 44 attempts, while adding an assist, a service ace and four digs. Gavin Schaffer and Brian Long also reached double figures in kills with 10 each, while Brennan Davis added 41 assists and a season-best-tying 14 digs.
King (22-5) came out strong as it hit .476 with 12 kills, while forcing nine Crusader errors in the first set. The Tornado used a 7-1 run to turn a 4-3 lead to 11-4, then scored nine of the last 10 points of the set to win 25-15.
The momentum continued in the second with King scoring the first four points in building a 9-3 advantage. Belmont Abbey tallied four of the next five to cut the gap to 10-7, then later trailed by two, 16-14. But the Tornado earned six of the next seven points to stretch the lead to 22-15. The Crusaders saved two set points, but went down two sets, 25-19.
Belmont Abbey opened an early lead in the third, 5-3 and 7-5, but King rallied to take a 10-8 advantage with 5-1 run. The teams were at most two points apart before the Tornado broke an 18-18 deadlock with back-to-back points. The Crusaders scored to cut the lead to 20-19, but King answered with two straight of its own. The Abbey continued to push, using a 3-1 run to close to 23-22, then saved a match point before tying the score at 24-all. King gained another match point, but an attack error and two kills by Maxwell completed the rally and forced a fourth set.
The fourth set was close early, with the score tied at 10 before King took control. Three straight points started a 7-2 run that extended to 10-3 and 15-5, closing out the match.