Men’s volleyball falls flat against Fontbonne

Emily Thompson, Sports Editor

The Illinois Wesleyan men’s volleyball team took the net against Fontbonne University in a weeknight game on Tuesday, February 8. The Titans managed to snag a 25-20 victory in the first set before dropping the ball in the final three (25-19, 25-22, 25-21). 


This loss drops the men’s volleyball team’s overall record to 4-3 for the season. 


Sophomore Michael Eastman paced the Titans with 15 kills and seven service aces. Fellow sophomores KJ Johnson and Alec Mucha followed closely behind with six kills each.


Eastman opened up scoring for the Titans with a four-point streak including two kills and two service aces early into the first set. Sophomore Julian Perez added an additional kill to maintain the Titans’ 6-4 lead. 


The Griffins pulled back ahead due to two Titan errors before two kills by Mucha brought the Titans within one. Another three-point streak for the Griffins was cut off by an attack error, allowing the Titans to fire back with three kills of their own. 


Eastman contributed three straight kills, bringing the Titans to 19-17. 


IWU and Fontebonne traded points back-and-forth and kept one another within one point, leading to a kill by Perez and service ace by Eastman. The Titans took the first set 25-20. 


The second set started strong for the Griffins, who established an early three-point lead. Kills by Eastman and Perez brought the Titans within one point before another nail-biting point tradeoff.


Freshman Jake Kougan produced a kill that gave the Titans their first lead of the set at 8-7. The race to victory resumed as the Griffins posted five more points, only to be met with four by the Titans. 


Another Kougan kill tied up the teams 15-15. 


From there, Fontbonne ran away with another five-point run to put them up 21-15. Eastman broke their streak with a kill, but the damage was already done. The Griffins closed out the set 25-19. 


The third set of the evening started strong for the Titans, with freshman Vince DiCosola opening the scoring with a service ace. A Griffin attack error and a kill by Kougan kept the Titans ahead 4-3. 


The lead was short-lived before the same one-point trading saw the teams within one of each other. Both the Griffins and the Titans crept up one point at a time until a Titan attack error and two Griffin kills gave Fontbonne a 19-16 advantage. 


Despite four more Eastman kills, the Griffins made short work of the set, finishing off the set 25-22. 


The final set of the evening proved much of the same, as Mucha opened scoring with a kill. But the momentum was lost, leading to a quick deficit for the Titans. 


Eastman, Mucha, Johnson and Perez each managed to send kills to the Griffins and close the gap within five. The Griffins took over from there and, despite three of the final four points of the game went to the Titans, Fontbonne took the win for the set at 25-21. 


The men’s volleyball team begins a three-game spree on Thursday, February 10 with a trip to Aurora, Ill. First serve against Aurora University is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.