Maxwell Tallies 19 Kills as Crusaders Go Four Sets with King

Maxwell Tallies 19 Kills as Crusaders Go Four Sets with King

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.

The match marked the final action in the careers of seniors Rob Valentine and Gavin Schaffer. The Crusaders return the remainder of the roster for the 2019 season.