MILWAUKEE – It's hard enough to beat a team two times in a season, yet alone three. That was the challenge thrown at MSOE men's volleyball, as they faced off with Dominican for a trip to the NCAA tournament. Well, let's go dancing, shall we? Up 24-23, Jacob Sirny (Brookfield, Wis. / Brookfield East) slammed home the ball for the final kill of the match, punching the Raiders ticket for the first time in school history.
Dominican – 1 (25, 19, 21, 23)
MSOE Raiders – 3 (21, 25, 25, 25)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Everyone knew it was going to be a battle. The players, the coaches, and the fans were fired up, ready to cheer on their respective teams. Even the bleachers inside Hotchkin Arena were divided between the two fanbases as the NACC men's volleyball tournament championship game kicked off.
It was not the ideal start for MSOE (21-7, 13-3 NACC) however. Dominican (19-11, 13-3 NACC) took control of the first set early on, acquiring kills left and right to take an early 12-8 lead, forcing the Red & White to regroup via a timeout. The Raiders climbed back into the match, getting as close as 16-14 before the Stars pulled away for good. Back to back MSOE points cut the deficit back down to four again late but couldn't prevent the 25-21 opening loss.
This Raiders squad has welcomed every challenge to come their way throughout their 28 games this season with open arms. Set two was no different. Already down 1-0, the frame was a must win to prevent the Stars from grabbing a dominating lead. The players on the court knew this and decided to turn the tables. It was MSOE that pulled out to a four-point lead this time around, but instead of letting Dominican back in, they ran up the score. The Raiders led by eight late in the ballgame, easily cruising to a 25-19 victory.
Set three and four were where things got even more fun. The teams traded leads back and forth throughout the last two games, with neither team assuming any lead of great strength. Up 19-18, the Stars allowed the Raiders back into set three with two service errors, setting up back to back to back kills from Ben Pung (Loveland, Ohio / St. Xavier), Quin Krisik (Itasca, Ill. / Itasca), and Jacob Sirny for the 25-21 win. The final frame was much of the same. Dominican stayed within one point at 22-21, and easily could have taken the lead and forced a fifth set. Instead, with the game at 24-23, the Raiders punched their ticket to the national tournament with another Sirny kill to win the match 3-1 with a 25-23 victory.
The Raiders will be making their first ever NCAA tournament appearance when the regional round opens next weekend. They have also set a school record for most wins in a season with 21.
MSOE STAT TRACKER
Jacob Sirny – 14 Kills, .345 hitting percentage
Quin Krisik – 36 assists, 4 kills, 14 digs
Danny Martens (Northbrook, Ill. / Glenbrook North) – 18 digs, 1 kill, 5 assists
Spencer Mueller (Fox Lake, Ill. / Carmel Catholic) – 1 solo block, 2 block assists, 5 kills
WHO'S ON DECK
The Raiders will find out who and where they are playing this Monday morning when the NCAA selection show goes live at 9:00 am. Be on the lookout for details on how to join in on this historic event.