SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Freshman Ben Pung collected 35 kills over two matches on his first day of collegiate action to lead the MSOE men's volleyball team to a pair of five-set victories on the opening day of the Jim Coleman Invitational Friday at Pam Evans Smith Arena.
The Raiders (2-0) opened with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over No. 9 UC-Santa Cruz (1-4), 23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12. They then downed Mount St. Joseph (0-3) 25-23, 30-28, 21-25, 20-25, 15-9 later in the evening.
Freshman Ben Pung put together a stellar collegiate debut in the opener with 14 kills on .375 attacking (14-5-24) before shouldering the offensive load in the nightcap. Against the Lions, he racked up 17 kills before his first error of the match. He went on to finish with 21 kills on .475 hitting (21-2-40) with seven service aces. His seven aces are tied for the fifth-most in a match in program history.
Junior Jake Christensen led the team with 15 kills in the opener, adding four service aces. Senior Quin Krisik made his return to the floor after not playing in 2018 and picked up where he left off when he was named the MCVL Offensive Player of the Year. He narrowly missed a triple-double with 41 assists, 10 digs, and eight kills with a .353 hitting percentage (8-2-17). He also matched Christensen's four aces.
Raymond Cascio led UCSC with 19 kills and Kyle Donohoe chipped in 12.
Against the Banana Slugs, MSOE was able to hang with UCSC despite the California team already having four matches under its belt. The tide seemed to turn in the third set when the Red & White hit over .100 for the first time at .267. The Raiders then kept it going by hitting .444 in the fourth set and then closed out the match with a .375 clip in the finale.
MSOE finished with a .227 hitting percentage for the match with 56 kills against 27 errors. The team also finished with nine aces. Meanwhile, UC-Santa Cruz was limited to .169 attacking with 49 kills and 27 errors.
In the second match of the night, it was the Raiders jumping out to the 2-0 lead before a furious comeback by the Lions. After MSJ pulled level in the match, MSOE put the foot on the gas and never looked back, outhitting its opponent .471 to -.083.
Christensen added another strong match with 13 kills while freshman Jacob Sirney had 12 against just three errors for a .529 hitting percentage.
Krisik finished with 52 assists, 14 digs, and another six kills.
MSOE hit a solid .263 in the match with 65 kills. Behind Pung, the team tallied 10 aces. MSJ finished just off the pace at .239 hitting.
The Jim Coleman Invitational continues Saturday with the Raiders taking on Marymount at 10 a.m. central time and Lancaster Bible at 2 p.m.