With a belt on the line, outside attacker Johansen Negron delivered a knockout performance.
Negron set a single-match program record with 31 kills as Lincoln Memorial defeated its in-state rival King 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21 on Tuesday in Bristol, Tennessee to win the Rivalry Belt.
The outside attacker had at least five kills in every game highlighted with a game-high 11 kills in the second game. In addition, Negron late in the fourth game had back-to-back kills to give the Railsplitters (14-7) the lead and jump started a 5-0 run that helped secure the non-conference win.
Along with the record-setting kills performance, Negron finished with a .440 attack percentage and committed one attack error in each the first and third games.
This also was the first time Negron had more than 15 kills in a match this season.
Setter Kohl Kutsch had 57 assists and guided the Lincoln Memorial offense to out-hit King .300 to .220.
Opposite Justin Sharfenaker ended with 17 kills on a .344 attack percentage against King (12-11, 7-3 ConfCarolinas), including having a combined 10 kills in the final two games. Sharfenaker and Negron received more than 60 percent of the sets and were the only two Railsplitters with at least 10 kills.
Lincoln Memorial libero Attia Soliman defensively led all players with 12 digs. Kutsch also had 10 digs – the third time in the last seven matches that the setter had double-digit digs.
Opposite Joshua Kim in the loss had a team-high 16 kills, while outside attacker Chance Hoffman added 10 kills.
Lincoln Memorial with the victory completed the series sweep against King to win the Rivalry Belt – a wrestling inspired championship belt that was designed by the two teams’ coaching staffs. The Railsplitters had a five-game victory against the Tornado in January and have now win six consecutive matches in the rivalry between the two Tennessee schools.