Bump, set, spike!
The Concordia Courier
By Kara Vincitorio | 1/21/2022
CUI men's volleyball hosted Saint Xavier in their home opener for the start of the 2022 season on Mon., Jan. 10. In the program's first game under new head coach and former Olympian Riley Salmon, the Eagles defeated the Cougars in four sets with scores 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, and 25-22.
Outside hitter Jonathan Carlson led the Eagles with 13 kills, seven digs and added four blocks that came in critical moments. Carlson is a fifth year masters student and said, “I admire our dedication to the game and ability to take criticism; we move on without feelings getting hurt.” He added, “We had each other's backs and picked each other up when we needed it.” Senior Logan Glave also contributed from the back with nine digs and chimed in with eight kills.
Newcomer and Panama native Uriel Batista slammed 11 kills and scooped up six digs. Owen Chun was placed into the game and made an immediate impact for the team with three kills and two huge blocks, including one solo.
Junior setter Mott McLain said, “I focused on what my role would be for the match and the upcoming ones and how I could fill it best to help the team.” He added, “We had some fun energy surrounding this match, the first real match of the season. Everyone was dialed up to play and be a part of the win.” McLain is really proud of senior teammate Owen Chun; “I think Owen had a heck of a game, especially from an attacking standpoint, and gave us some great plays down the stretch of a couple different sets” he said.
Freshman Danny Smithers started in the libero slot and with six digs while fellow first-year setter Makai Lipson dished out 39 assists in just four sets. It was an impressive debut for both players in their first games wearing the Green and Gold.
Middle blockers Gil Herold and Mason Mullins had an impressive night up at the net both contributing a solo block. Herold finished the match with nine kills and a hitting percentage of .421 while Mullins had six kills hitting above a .350 and collected a team high of five blocks.
Sets one and three tallied back and forth between both teams for the majority of the time until Glave went to the back line to extend the Eagles lead and ultimately finish the sets with Cougar errors. CUI didn't look back in the fourth set and took the lead until the end.
Head Coach Riley Salmon is proud of his team and is excited for this upcoming season. “Their preparation for this home opener game was unique in the sense that we didn’t have a single practice with everyone present, due to holidays, COVID and scheduling,” he said. The team's motto is “right here right now!” according to Salmon. He said, “I’m extremely proud of our group as we played hard and competed every point.”
To support our men’s volleyball team, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @cuimvolleyball. Due to COVID-19, there is currently no general admission to games, only pre-approved spectators. The games will be live streamed online for free and fans can also follow the action with live stats free of charge.
About Kara Vincitorio
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