by Cory Guinn
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton men's volleyball team withstood an early test from NAIA opponent Saint Andrews University to come away with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-20) win on Tuesday night in Wilson Gymnasium.
Barton (16-5), playing in its first home match since March 4, fell behind early with a 25-22 loss in the first set of play despite hitting at a .444 clip. The Knights (11-14) had four service aces in the opening set and hit .500 as a team to take the 1-0 match lead.
However, the Bulldogs' top-ranked defense responded in the second set of play and forced Saint Andrews into totaling just as many errors as kills to take the frame 25-15 at tie the match at one set apiece.
The two sides played to six early ties in the third set of action as the Knights built a 14-12 lead following consecutive attack errors by the Bulldogs. Barton quickly tied the match at 14-all with an SAU service error and an ace from senior Jonathon Novoa-Miralles.
A back-and-forth affair continued with the score tied five more times down the stretch and Saint Andrews even taking a 22-21 advantage, but a kill from sophomore Vasilis Mandilaris and a ball handling error by SAU ended the set with Barton ahead.
The Bulldogs were in control early in the fourth and final set of play and never trailed building a lead as large as a nine-point margin on another V. Mandilaris kill at 16-7. The match ended with another kill from the sophomore as he finished with a team-high 19 kills with a .500 hitting percentage.
Saint Andrews' Robin Inmar led all players with 20 kills from the outside and was the only Knight in double figures, while teammate Carlos Rodriguez totaled 16 digs from his libero position.
Freshman Angelos Mandilaris hit .379 and finished with 13 kills and nine digs, while Novoa-Miralles had 11 kills, eight digs and four total blocks. Senior Federico Pagliara registered a match-high 48 assists to go along with eight digs, as senior Michael Perez and sophomore Justice Lord totaled seven and six kills, respectively.
Barton continues it busy week on Friday as the team hosts Conference Carolinas foe Lees-McRae College at 7 p.m. before welcoming the top team in the league standings, King (Tenn.) University on Saturday for a match at 2 p.m. in Wilson Gymnasium.