The Wells College men's volleyball team rallied from two sets down and won the 2019 North Eastern Athletic Conference championship match in five sets over Lancaster Bible College. It is the first conference title in the eight-year existence of Wells College men's volleyball and the Express have qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Set scores were 12-25, 23-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-13 in the title match which took place at Lancaster Bible College's Horst Athletic Center. Lancaster Bible was the tournament's top seed and host, and the Chargers are ranked 10th nationally by the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Men's Poll.
It was the third match of the year between the teams, and LBC took each of the first two matches, winning in five sets at Wells on March 16 and winning in three sets at Lancaster, Pa. on March 23.
Wells had eight hitting errors and nine kills in the opening set, as LBC cruised to a 25-12 win. LBC edged Wells in the second set 25-23, as Wells saw a 15-9 lead turned around by the Chargers.
In the third set, Wells pulled ahead 20-17 but LBC answered with a three-point run to tie it. Wells then held a 24-21 lead with the serve, but LBC defended set points with a kill, service ace, and hitting error on the Express. At 24-24, LBC had a service error and Robert Patzer served an ace to close out the set 26-24.
The Express had their most efficient hitting games in the fourth and fifth sets. Wells hit .231 in the fourth set with 14 kills and five errors. In the fifth set, Wells hit .269 with 11 kills and four errors.
Wells held a margin of 2-5 points for most of the fourth set. LBC held off two set points but an attack error gave the decisive point to the Express and forced a deciding set. Lancaster Bible had leads of two and three points for most of the fifth set and held a 13-11 lead following a Wells service error. The Express answered with a four-point run to win it. After a service error by the Chargers, a kill from Caden O'Loughlin tied it. O'Loughlin served an ace to give Wells its first match point, and it was converted on a kill by Robert Patzer at the right pin.
Caden O'Loughlin earned the most valuable player award for the tournament. In Sunday's championship, he had 16 kills, hit .224, served two aces, had 12 digs and two block assists.
Robert Patzer had 16 kills and Ryan Turner had 10 kills. Josh Undari had 48 assists. Liam Kaylor had 12 digs and Joe Zimmerman had 10 digs. Justin Williams had five block assists and Patzer had four block assists.
Wells hit .171 as Lancaster Bible had 14 total blocks, but the Express had a serving advantage with 10 aces to six for Lancaster Bible. Wells had 17 service errors and Lancaster Bible College had 12 errors.
The NCAA Tournament selection show is Monday, April 15 at 10 a.m. and can be viewed at NCAA.com.
Wells carries a 27-8 record into the national tournament and Lancaster Bible College is 26-5.