WITTENBERG, THIEL TO BATTLE FOR MEN'S VOLLEYBALL TITLE SATURDAY

WITTENBERG, THIEL TO BATTLE FOR MEN'S VOLLEYBALL TITLE SATURDAY

A pair of 5 set semifinal matches later, #1 Wittenberg University and #3 Thiel College advance to the finals of the men's volleyball championship tournament.

The two squads split decisions in the regular season, with Thiel earning a 3-2 victory in February and Wittenberg sweeping the Tomcasts, 3-0, in March.

In the first semifinal, the host Tigers were tested in a five set battle with #4 Penn St. Behrend, prevailing 26-24, 19-25, 25-13, 24-26, 15-11.  Wittenberg senior middle hitter Ashton Sellers led both teams with 19 kills and a .308 hitting percentage, while contributing 14 digs and 3 blocks on the defensive side.  Teammate Deion Woodson came through with 13 kills, 10 digs and 3 blocks in the seesaw contest, and setter Ross Russell kept the offense going with 47 assists (9.4 apg) plus 16 digs.  Behrend got standout performances from outside hitter Dillon Hildebrand (17 kills, 7 digs), setter Anthony Sprentz (32 assists, 11 digs) and libero Robert McMaster (22 digs).

The #2 seed Geneva College, a first year varsity program that sat atop the AMCC standings most of the season, had a rougher time.  Having split with each other by identical 3-1 scores during the regular season, Geneva and Thiel waged a no-holds-barred contest that saw the momentum shift iin every set.  The Tomcats prevailed (21-25, 25-19, 25-11, 32-30, 16-14) but not without a fight from the Tornadoes.

Thiel got five star effort from setter Stephen Borgen (48 assists, 14 digs) and outside hitters Jacob DeRue (16 kills, 8 digs) and Chance Hoffman (15 kills, 8 digs, 3 blocks).  For Geneva, highlight performances came from setter Anthony Baronio (45 assists, 16 digs, 3 blocks, 5 kills), outside hitter Dan Townsend (12 kills, 27 digs), andmiddle blocker Spencer York (17 kills, 3 blocks).

The championship match will be played at 3pm Saturday at Springfield High School.