What started out as a rout turned into Barton fighting off a potential upset scare from St. Francis Brooklyn.
The Terriers rallied from a two-game deficit before the defending ConfCarolinas champions bounced back in the decisive fifth game to win the non-conference match 25-14, 25-15, 26-28, 25-20, 15-12 on Thursday in Wilson, North Carolina.
Barton coach Jeff Lennox reinserted Preseason All-American opposite Angelos Mandilaris and outside attacker Adrian Iglesias into the lineup for the fifth game after both players were subbed out earlier in the match with Barton having a sizable lead.
Mandilaris led all players with seven kills in the final game, while Iglesias was serving during Barton’s 3-1 run to open the fifth game.
Mandilaris, who entered this match second in the country averaging 4.65 kills per game, finished with 11 kills on a .389 attack percentage.
He also was one of three Bulldogs with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Nicolo Mancin had both a match-high 18 kills and four blocks, and middle attacker Absalon Williams added 10 kills on a .500 attack percentage.
St. Francis Brooklyn’s Dominick Pikura in the loss had a team-high 10 kills.
Despite being out-hit .281 to .122 in the match, St. Francis Brooklyn did not commit an attack error in the final two games. It also hit .333 in the fifth game — more than .100 percentage points better than Barton.
The Terriers were able to force a fifth game after having a match-best .529 attack percentage in the fourth game.
St. Francis Brooklyn opened the third game on an 8-3 run with several of the Barton starters on the bench. The Bulldogs rally to take the lead but were unable to convert on four match-point opportunities before the Terriers won in overtime to avoid the sweep.
Mandilaris had three kills and ace early in the second game before being subbed out for opposite Nathan Chaparro. Chaparro making his fifth appearance of the season had two kills in the game, including the game-winning kill to conclude a 5-1 run.
Barton closed out the opening game on a 7-1 run and limited St. Francis Brooklyn to a negative-.071 attack percentage. The Bulldogs also had four aces, including middle attacker Dimitrios Kyridis delivering a game-winning ace.
With this victory, the Bulldogs extend their winning streak to seven matches and remain undefeated at home. Barton will continue its home stand and attempt to expand its first-place lead in the ConfCarolinas as it plays Lees-McRae on Friday and second-place King on Saturday.
The match against King will be the first time the two teams have played each other since the Bulldogs beat the Tornado in 2019 ConfCarolinas Tournament finals in a fifth-game overtime.
The first-year program St. Francis Brooklyn entered this match attempting to get its first win against a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team. The team will play two more ConfCarolinas schools on Saturday with matches versus Mount Olive and Lees-McRae.