GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Robert Nixon had 10 kills and Gavin Schaffer added eight kills and three aces, but Belmont Abbey dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision (25-23, 25-15, 25-27, 25-17) decision at Limestone in men's volleyball action Tuesday night.
Liam Maxwell and Brennan Beyner tallied six kills each, while Bryce Sullivan registered 28 assists. A pair of Saints reached double figures in kills, led by Kevin Rocklein with 14. Limestone (4-4, 4-3) held a .231-.170 advantage in hitting percentage.
In the opening game, Belmont Abbey (3-6, 2-4) held a 2-1 lead, but then fell behind 6-2 after a 5-0 run by the Saints. The Crusaders closed the gap to 9-6, but Limestone tallied three of the next four points for a 13-7 lead. Later, with the score 18-12, Belmont Abbey used a 3-1 run if its own for a 19-15 margin, but back-to-back Limestone points pushed the lead back to six, 21-15. The Crusaders made another push, scoring three in a row, then adding another 3-0 run to even the set at 23-all. But a service error and kill by Limestone ended the set 25-23.
In the second, Belmont Abbey fell behind 2-0, but rallied for a 5-4 lead. The Crusaders gained a service error to close to 12-10, but Limestone tallied back-to-back points to start a 10-3 run that made the score 22-13. The set ended with Limestone hitting .455 enroute to the 25-15 win.
Belmont Abbey started strong in the third, breaking a 1-1 tie with four straight points. With the score 7-4, the Crusaders went on another 4-0 run, building the lead to 11-4. Limestone answered, though, cutting the score to 15-12 and 16-13 before The Abbey surged. Back-to-back points pushed the lead back to five, then two more points made the score 22-15. The Saints would not quit, tallying six of the next seven points. After the Crusaders gained a set point at 24-23, the teams traded points to 25-all until two attack errors, the latter into a block by Beyner and Schaffer, forced a fourth set, 27-25.
Limestone broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth with back-to-back points, then responded from a service error with a 5-1 run for a 10-4 lead. After another service error, the Saints rattled off four more points for a 14-5 advantage. From there, the Crusaders never recovered, falling 25-17.
Belmont Abbey returns home Friday with a 7 p.m. home match against Alderson Broaddus.