by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – Although at times it didn't look like it would be the most dominant performance, the Barton College men's volleyball team rallied together to sweep past Lees-McRae College 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-18) in Conference Carolinas action on Friday inside Wilson Gym.
Barton (9-6, 7-0) is set for a matchup on Saturday with King University that will leave only one team with a perfect record in league play. Lees-McRae (2-10, 0-5) battled from start to finish and held several leads throughout the night despite playing with only seven players.
Sophomore Angelos Mandilaris paced the Bulldogs with 15 kills on the night to go along with three aces and three digs. Junior Vasilis Mandilaris tallied nine kills while adding four digs for Barton. Junior Justice Lord recorded seven kills in the match for BC while adding one ace and two digs. Redshirt sophomore Oscar Fiorentino tallied 29 assists and notched a team-high six digs for the Bulldogs.
Wes Rogman had a team-high eight kills for Lees-McRae, while Robert Bowling tallied four kills to go along with three aces and a match-high eight digs. Chris Woolslayer and Spencer Graf each notched six kills for the Bobcats, while Graf added two aces. Michael Wahl had a team-high 22 assists in the match while adding two aces.
The Bulldogs took the opening set of the night despite recording nine attack errors. BC used a 4-0 run to erase an early deficit and turn it into a 6-3 advantage. After the Bobcats trimmed the gap to 9-7, Barton used another 4-0 rally to up its lead to 13-7. The Bobcats gained some momentum in the set by rattling off four-straight points to pull within one of Barton at 16-15. BC used a timeout and gained the momentum back and increased its lead to 19-15. Lees-McRae rallied again in the set to cut the BC lead to 22-21 following a kill by Woolslayer. A kill by A. Mandilaris put the Bulldogs within a point of taking the set and following a timeout by the Bobcats, BC would do just that as a blocking error by Woolslayer secured the 25-21 victory.
Both sides had their best-attacking percentages of the night in the second set as Lees-McRae tallied 14 kills en route to hitting .480, while Barton recorded 16 kills and hits .560. The lead would switch hands in the set until the Bobcats opened a two-point edge at 15-13. BC answered with a 3-0 run that would be capped by a kill from senior Michael Perez to give the Bulldogs a 16-15 lead. Rogman delivered a kill for Lees-McRae that would give his team a late 22-21 lead in the set. BC countered with consecutive points to take a 23-22 edge and force a timeout from the Bobcats. V. Mandilaris wouldn't let the timeout shift the momentum as he notched back-to-back kills to secure the set 25-22 and put Barton up 2-0 in the match.
Lees-McRae brought plenty of energy into the third set as the Bobcats raced out to a 7-3 lead following a service error by the Bulldogs. Barton cut the gap to 7-6 as Lord and Perez teamed up for a block followed by a kill from Lord. BC opened a two-point edge over the Bobcats halfway through the set as A. Mandilaris made it 18-15 after delivering an ace.
With the lead trimmed to 18-17, the Bulldogs made their final push to secure the sweep of the Bobcats. A service error by Lees-McRae started a 4-0 rally for the Bulldogs that would eventually put them ahead 22-17 after an ace from Perez. BC tallied the final three points of the set to complete the sweep with a 25-18 victory.
The Bulldogs wrap up their weekend home conference slate with a 2 p.m. match against the Tornado of King University.