by Cory Guinn
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The recent struggles continued for the Barton men's volleyball team on Saturday night as the Bulldogs lost 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-19) to Saint Francis (Pa.) University in the Ohio State Invitational.
The Red Flash (3-4) hit .283 as a team but committed 19 attack errors and 15 service errors to allow Barton (3-3) to hang around. In contrast, BC hit .197 as a team and totaled seven blocks at the net.
Barton and Saint Francis played a tightly contested first set with three ties on the scoreboard in the early going. The final tie came at 9-9 before the Red Flash used a 9-2 run to build a seven-point lead.
BC went on its own 6-1 run late in the set to get within one point of the SFU lead but Saint Francis scored four of the sets last five points to take the win.
In the second set, Saint Francis built a five-point lead midway through before five unanswered points by Barton tied the score at 19-19. The lead changed hands five times after that point until a BC service error ended the set.
After tying the score at 3-3, the Red Flash took advantage of a Barton service error to claim a lead it never relinquished. A 9-5 run by the Bulldogs cut into the SFU lead, but Barton could not overcome its struggles at the service line leading to the defeat.
Sophomore Vasilis Mandilaris led Barton with 12 kills and a .360 hitting percentage, while senior Jonathan Novoa-Miralles followed with three kills and three digs. Redshirt-senior Juan Varona led the team with seven digs on defense as Mandilaris and fellow sophomore Justice Lord had three blocks each.
Barton returns to Wilson for a four-game homestand with its first match against defending Conference Carolinas Champion Erskine College. The Flying Fleet will be in Wilson on Friday, Jan. 3 for a 7 p.m. first serve.