LISLE, Ill. – How fitting that the regular season championship would come down to the two best teams going head to head for the crown on the last day of the regular season. Unfortunately, MSOE didn't come out on the right side of history, falling to Benedictine 3-1 in the last game before the NACC playoffs.
#6/12 MSOE Raiders – 1
#3/5 Benedictine – 3
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a battle of two ranked teams this afternoon, as both MSOE (19-7, 13-3 NACC) and Benedictine (22-3, 14-2 NACC) came in ranked in the AVCA Coaches and the NCAA DIII Regional polls. The first set of the evening went the Eagles way, hitting .600 behind the power of 14 kills and only two errors. The Raiders had an uncharacteristic start, only hitting .091 and committing five errors in the 25-17 loss.
Set two and three were games that every fan of men's volleyball should see. While there were 13 errors committed in the second frame, the teams combined for 31 kills on their way to an extra point set. The Red & White actually led for the entire duration, never giving up the lead until the very end. The set was tied nine times down the stretch before BU got the last two points to win 30-28. MSOE made sure that set three wouldn't end up the same way, jumping out to an early four-point lead and keeping the Eagles at arms reach in the 25-23 win that saw the Raiders survive a late Eagles charge.
Every single one of the last three sets in this contest could have gone either way, but in the end the Raiders just ran out of steam. With the game close, Benedictine went on a 5-2, running up their lead to five. The Raiders tried to force a fifth and final set, getting as close as 24-21 before an Eagles kill wrapped up Benedictine's regular season with a 3-1 win and the NACC regular season title.
One good thing to come out of the loss was Quin Krisik (Itasca, Ill. / Itasca) breaking the all-time assist record. He needed seven coming into the game and ended up with 41, for a grand total (so far) of 3,900.
MSOE STAT TRACKER
Ben Pung (Loveland, Ohio / St. Xavier) – 12 kills, .346 attack percentage
Quin Krisik – 41 assists, 10 digs, 2 solo blocks
Danny Martens (Northbrook, Ill. / Glenbrook North) – 11 digs, 1 assist
WHO'S ON DECK
Who is next? That's a good question. The top seeded Raiders will have to wait and see how the quarterfinal round plays out, as they will host either Marian or Lakeland in the second game of the semifinals on Friday at 7:00 pm inside Hotchkin Arena.