Opposite Evan Cory delivered his biggest offensive performance of the season to help Lincoln Memorial win its first championship in program history.
The All-Independent Team sophomore finished with a season-high 26 kills on a .314 attack percentage as Lincoln Memorial beat Coker 25-21, 24-26, 32-30, 23-25, 15-10 in the IVA Tournament finals on Saturday in Philippi, West Virginia.
This was the third match of the season that Cory had at least 20 kills. In addition, Cory had a combined 36 kills and hit more than .300 in both of Lincoln Memorial’s wins at the annual end of season tournament for NCAA Division I-II independent men’s volleyball teams.
Cory was one of two Railsplitters with double-digit kills in the victory. Outside attacker Joshua Riblett had 17 kills, while middle attacker Marcus Molina contributed seven kills on a .545 attack percentage.
The second-year program Lincoln Memorial out-hit Coker .237 to .158, including having a match-best .500 attack percentage in the decisive fifth game. The Railspittlers in the final game also went on a 6-0 run to rally from a 7-4 deficit.
Cory was the server for Lincoln Memorial during that fifth-game run and had ace along with two kills in that stretch.
Along with his offensive performance, Cory had a season-high nine blocks and added 11 digs against the Cobras.
Lincoln Memorial All-Independent Team middle attacker Pedro Carvalho led all players with 10 blocks. In addition, libero Logan Kerley had match-high 16 digs.
Cory entered the championship match after finishing second to Coker opposite Joao Victor Santos in the voting for the Off the Block Independent Teams Player of the Year.
Santos finished with both a team-high 23 kills and six blocks in the loss. He also had a program-record 32 kills in a five-game victory against Alderson Broaddus in the semifinals on Friday.
This is the second year of the IVA Tournament, which will be played at Lincoln Memorial next season. The two-day tournament featured all four NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball programs without a conference affiliation — Lincoln Memorial, Coker, Queens and Alderson Broaddus.
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Memorial athletics