|Final - Men's Volleyball||1||2||3||F|
|Briar Cliff (Iowa) (10-2)||25||25||25||3|
|Mount Mercy (Iowa) (14-6)||23||16||17||0|
|Cedar Rapids, IA|
|Briar Cliff (Iowa)||Indv. Leaders||Mount Mercy (Iowa)|
|#88 Peyton Schirman - 14||Kills||#27 Bobby Muller - 8|
|2 Players (#44,#88,#16,#17) - 1||Blocks||2 Players (#7,#9) - 2|
|#5 Noah Marasco-Ayau - 13||Digs||#11 Ben Ruggles - 12|
|#3 Enrique Barajas - 2||Aces||4 Players - 1|
|Briar Cliff (Iowa)||Team Statistics||Mount Mercy (Iowa)|
|Final - Men's Volleyball||1||2||3||4||F|
|Robert Morris (Ill.) (28-8)||25||25||22||25||3|
|Mount Mercy (Iowa) (14-7)||21||18||25||22||1|
|Cedar Rapids, IA|
|Robert Morris (Ill.)||Indv. Leaders||Mount Mercy (Iowa)|
|#33 Colby Magorien - 19||Kills||#1 Nikola Stoimenov - 17|
|#7 Scott Poppen - 6||Blocks||#7 Ben Steffen - 5|
|#33 Colby Magorien - 15||Digs||#11 Ben Ruggles - 13|
|2 Players (#7,#12) - 2||Aces||#1 Nikola Stoimenov - 2|
|Robert Morris (Ill.)||Team Statistics||Mount Mercy (Iowa)|
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Third-ranked Briar Cliff and 10th-ranked Robert Morris (Ill.) came to Hennessey Recreation Center to square off against Mount Mercy in a non-conference triangular on Saturday. The Chargers beat the Mustangs, 3-0, and followed that up with a sweep of the Eagles. Mount Mercy and Robert Morris went to four sets in the finale, but the Eagles came out on top, 3-1.
For the Mustangs, four of their last five matches have been against teams in the NAIA Men's Volleyball Coaches' Top 10 Poll. Mount Mercy has played top-ranked Grand View, No. 3 Briar Cliff, No. 4 St. Ambrose, and No. 10 Robert Morris in a span of two weeks. The Mustangs defeated Augustana (Ill.) on Wednesday to break up the toughest part of their schedule.
Mount Mercy is now 14-7 overall and sits in third place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference with a 4-3 league mark with five matches remaining until the Heart of America postseason tournament. The Mustangs get back into conference play with a matchup against fourth-place Missouri Valley on Saturday in Marshall, Mo.
In Saturday's opener, the Mustangs and Chargers traded points in the first set as each team finished with 13 kills. The game was tied 15 times, but Briar Cliff held off Mount Mercy, 25-23. The Mustangs posted a better attack percentage in set two (.115), but had a match-low seven kills. The Chargers hit a whopping .516 with 18 kills and just two errors in the 25-16 win.
Briar Cliff (10-2) led by as many as 11 in the third set, but Mount Mercy closed the gap to eight. A kill by Bobby Muller and an ace from Nikola Stoimenov, followed by a block from Jarred Hall and Evan Gaskill gave the Mustangs three straight points, but the Chargers still prevailed, 25-17.
Muller had a career-high eight kills with a .400 attack percentage against Briar Cliff. Ben Steffen added six kills to go along with a solo block and a block assist. Andrew Colantone tallied 22 assists and Ben Ruggles totaled 12 digs.
The Mustangs found their offense in the Robert Morris match, finishing with at least 11 kills in all four sets. The first game was back-and-forth until the Eagles created separation at the 20-17 mark. They held onto that lead for the remainder of the set to win, 25-21. Set two was tied up at 11-11, but an 11-4 run proved to be the difference for Robert Morris. Consecutive kills from Steffen got Mount Mercy within five at 22-17, but the Eagles responded with three straight kills to take the second set, 25-18.
Mount Mercy played their best volleyball of the day in the third set as they hit .333 as a team to finish with 15 kills, two more than Robert Morris. Neither team could pull away and it was 20-20 after a timely block from Steffen and Stoimenov. Those two paired up for another block to make it 22-20. Cole Spitler recorded two of his eight kills in the match to give Mount Mercy a set point at 24-22. The Mustangs took game three by a score of 25-22 after a triple block from Strahil Svilenski, Spitler, and Colantone.
A slow start to the fourth set hindered Mount Mercy as they found themselves down 17-10. The Mustangs regrouped and came firing back to level the match at 22-22, all due to six of the team's 11 kills in that 11-point span. It was the Eagles turn for a timely block and they got that coupled with two kills to end the set and the match, 25-22.
Stoimenov paced the Mustangs with 17 kills, his 12th double-digit performance of the season. Spitler and Svilenski each added eight and Steffen finished with seven. Steffen also had a solo block and four block assists to lead Mount Mercy. Colantone filled up the stat sheet, totaling 39 assists, eight digs, two kills, and two block assists.