March 31, 2012

'Lopes Fall to Lindenwood in Regular-Season Home Finale

The Grand Canyon University men’s volleyball team fell to visiting Lindenwood tonight at Antelope Gym in Phoenix, Ariz. in their final regular-season home match. The night also marked the final home match for GCU's four seniors, as Taylor Griffin, Taylor Galliano, Andre Fajardo and Morgan Youngs were recognized on Senior Night.

GCU is now 15-12 overall and 11-4 at home this season. Lindenwood is now 17-12 overall and improved their record against the Antelopes to 3-1.

The ‘Lopes lost in four sets by scores of 23-25, 25-18, 24-26 and 19-25. GCU posted a .286 attack average compared to a .296 attack average for Lindenwood. GCU had 54 kills on 127 total attacks with 20 errors. The ‘Lopes were out-blocked 12 to 10 and also had 35 digs while the Lions collected 46.

For the second straight night, GCU was able to post sideout percentages over 60 percent in each of their four sets, led by their 77 percent in the second set.

“We obviously did not play as well as we did last night and we knew that they would come out and be better tonight,” said head coach Jeremy Price. “We failed to meet their energy and you can see that in the dig statistic, where they out-dug us by 11. You can’t get out-dug on your home court. Their middles tore us up and we have to do a better job of blocking. I think that was reflected in the statistics as well.”

The ‘Lopes were led by Jordon Tarantino with 19 kills on a .300 attack percentage. Ben Ponnet added 14 kills and Griffin had 11 kills. Keith Smith dished out 47 assists and also led the team with eight digs.

“Jordon did really well offensively tonight,” added Price. “Backing up 20 kills last night with 19 tonight is really impressive. I thought Taylor (Griffin) played extremely well on his Senior Night. To come through by hitting over .300 with 11 kills, I thought he really played well.”

GCU trailed for most of the first set before tying the score at 23 by rallying off four unanswered points. The Lions scored the final two points of the set via a kill and block. Ponnet had five kills and Griffin added four kills in the set as the ‘Lopes posted a .355 attack average with 16 kills.

The ‘Lopes came back strong in the second set as they never trailed and at one point, rattled off six straight points to take a 20-12 advantage. Griffin and Tarantino led the way with five kills apiece. GCU had sideouts in 14 of their 18 chances and had a .250 attack percentage for the set.

The third set was a back and forth battle between the two teams as there were 13 tie scores and four lead changes. Lindenwood broke an 11-11 tie in the third and built their lead to 16-12 before GCU fought back to tie the score at 20. The teams continued to trade points and were locked in a 24-24 tie before the Lions finished off the set in similar fashion from the first with a kill and block. Lindenwood had a .343 attack percentage with 18 kills while the ‘Lopes hit .300 with 14 kills.

The fourth set was controlled by the Lions as they held the lead throughout following an early 1-1 tie. Lindenwood posted a .464 attack percentage with 18 kills in the final set while the ‘Lopes hit just .167 with 10 kills and five errors.

GCU will next be in action when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on MIVA foe Ohio State on April 5 and 6. Game times are slated for 4 p.m. Arizona time each day. Fans can follow the action live at www.gculopes.com.

“We are playing two top-10 teams and teams that are tied for first in the conference,” Price said about their upcoming games. “We are right there and we control our own destiny in terms of seeding. We can finish anywhere from first to fifth in the conference. We have to play a lot better over the next couple of weekends. Hopefully we will put in a good week of practice and be ready to play on Thursday.”

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