It was only fitting that outside attacker Negron Johansen delivered the match-winning kill to secure a championship title.
Johansen led all players with a season-high 16 kills on a .500 attack percentage as Lincoln Memorial swept Queens 25-23, 25-19, 25-23 on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, for its third straight IVA Tournament championship.
This was the second consecutive match at the end of season tournament for NCAA Division I-II independent teams that Johansen hit .500. The IVA Tournament Most Outstanding Player had seven kills in a semifinals sweep against Tusculum to help Lincoln Memorial (12-8) reach the finals.
All-Independent setter AJ Risavy had 40 assists and guided the Lincoln Memorial offense to out-hit Queens .354 to .244, including the Railsplitters having a match-best .444 attack percentage in the second game. In addition, the Railsplitters had five players with at least five kills against the Royals (14-12).
Opposite Justin Sharfenaker, the Independent Teams Freshman of the Year, finished with 10 kills. All-Independent senior middle attacker Pedro Carvalho in his final college match also had six kills on a .625 attack percentage, while middle attacker Dawson Walker contributed eight kills.
Queens All-Independent opposite Tristan Santoyo in the loss had a team-high 13 kills and was the only Royal with double-digit kills.
Middle attacker JP Payne, the Independent Teams Player of the Year, was limited to four kills on a .250 attack percentage in the loss.
The RailSplitters defensive out-blocked the Royals 9 to 5. Carvalho led all players with six blocks, while Sharenaker contributed four blocks.
Lincoln Memorial with this victory concluded its season on a seven-match winning streak. The Railsplitters as part of the winning streak also swept the Royals in their regular-season finale.
2021 IVA All-Tournament Team
Johansen Negron, Lincoln Memorial (Most Outstanding Player)
Pedro Carvahlo, Lincoln Memorial
AJ Risavy, Lincoln Memorial
Justin Sharfenaker, Lincoln Memorial
Joshua Bragg, Queens
Stirling Sims, Queens
Tristan Santoyo, Queens
Christos Gkitersos, Limestone
Caleb Slater, Tusculum