PARKVILLE, Mo. – Kansas Wesleyan Men’s Volleyball picked up the first set win in program history on Saturday in its match against Culver-Stockton during the Park Pirate Invitational at the Breckon Sports Center.
Kansas Wesleyan would go 0-4 at the tournament in its four matches, which were against two NAIA Top 10 teams in Park (No. 4) and Missouri Valley (No. 8), and another that is receiving votes in the Top 15 poll (Mount Mercy) along with Culver-Stockton.
Park 3, KWU 0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-14): KWU faced fourth-ranked Park to open the tournament on Friday.
Wesleyan led 1-0 to start the match but an 11-2 run by the Pirates put the set in the host’s hands. The Coyotes got within eight points at 16-8 on a kill by Victor Loya (SO/El Paso, Texas), but a 9-2 push by the Pirates closed out the set.
KWU led 3-1 in the second set and was down 11-9 when Park went on a 14-4 run to close out the set.
A kill by Christopher Perez (FR/Denver, Colo.) gave KWU a 7-4 lead in the third set, but Park used an 11-3 run to take a 15-10 lead and closed out the match at 25-14.
Missouri Valley 3, KWU 0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-20): Wesleyan then faced eighth-ranked Missouri Valley in its second match of the tournament.
KWU led 4-2 in first set and led again at 8-7 and had the set tied at 10 all on Nguyen’s kill before Missouri Valley got three in a row to take a 13-10 lead. KWU got no closer than two points the rest of the set after the Vikings pushed out to a 20-11 lead.
It was another strong start to the second for the Coyotes who led 3-1 but a 12-3 run by Valley made it 13-6. The Coyotes weren’t able to recover in the set.
For a sixth straight set, the Coyotes led early on, in the third against Valley with a 3-1 lead. The Vikings would take the lead at 6-5 and pressed out to a 12-6 lead. Wesleyan would rally in the set, taking a 17-16 lead on Nguyen’s service ace. Valley would take a 21-18 lead but the Coyotes got back within a point before MVC score the final four of the set.
Loya and Nguyen led the Coyotes with four kills each. Angel Diaz (FR/Waukegan, Ill.) had seven assists.
Mount Mercy 3, KWU 0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-13): KWU opened play on Saturday with a match against Mount Mercy.
KWU took a 4-1 lead in the opening set but fell behind 10-7. The Coyotes got back within two points at 11-9, before the Mustangs took a 16-10 lead in the set and went on to win 25-15.
After leading early in the second set, the Coyotes fell behind 10-5 and could not get any closer the rest of the way.
KWU led 3-2 in the third, but seven straight by Mount Mercy was the difference.
Nguyen led the Coyotes with four kills, while Sessions had seven assists.
Culver-Stockton 3, KWU 1 (25-23, 26-24, 22-25, 25-17): KWU had a couple program firsts against Culver-Stockton in the final match of the tournament. The Coyotes had their first volleyball “overtime” set, needing extra points in the second set of the match, and the Coyotes would win their first-ever set, winning the third 25-22.
In the historical third set, the Coyotes led 2-1 out of the gates, but Culver came back to lead 5-3. Wesleyan pushed back, taking an 8-7 lead, but fell behind 12-9. Wesleyan trailed 17-15 when things turned in the Coyotes’ favor. Culver had a service error, then Sessions served two straight aces for the Coyotes to give KWU the lead 18-17. A ball handling error and a hitting error by the Wildcats gave KWU a 20-17 lead in the set.
Back to back kills by Nguyen made it 22-18 in favor of the Coyotes and Wesleyan would win the set on a Culver service error.
For the first time in the entire tournament KWU fell behind in the first set and did not have a lead. The Coyotes trailed by six at 12-6, and got back within two at 18-16 on a block by Christian Stevens (SR/Abilene, Kan.) and Loya, but Culver would take a 24-19 lead in the set. Wesleyan wasn’t done yet though, scoring the next four points to get within one at 24-23 before Culver would take the set.
KWU led 16-13 in the second set and had a 21-17 lead but saw Culver come back and get within a point at 23-22. A Culver service error gave the Coyotes a chance at set point 24-22, but Culver would score the next four to win the set 26-24.
Wesleyan fell behind 4-1 to open the fourth set, but battled back to get within a point at 9-8 before the Wildcats scored three to take a 12-8 lead and would pull away down the stretch for the 25-17 win.
Perez had 13 kills in the match setting a new high-water mark for match kills, passing Loya’s 10 in the program debut vs Graceland on January 14. Sessions had 18 assists, also a new program best mark and Jerry Chablay (FR/South Hackensack, N.J.) equaled the program record for digs in a match with 10, along with 10 digs from Sessions in the match. Sessions also had a record three service aces.
The Coyotes return to GPAC action on Tuesday, when they head to McPherson to take on Central Christian at 7:30 p.m.