It took one of their biggest comebacks of the year for the Crusaders to get past the ConfCarolinas preseason favorites and move into first place in the conference.
North Greenville rallied from a four-point deficit midway through the decisive fifth game and defeated Mount Olive 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 16-14 on Saturday in Mount Olive, North Carolina.
The Crusaders (15-5, 9-2 ConfCarolinas) in this match-up between the top two ConfCarolinas teams trailed game five 8-4 before going on a 4-0 run to tie the game and then later won in overtime. Freshman Micael de la Cruz had two kills as part of that fifth-game run and also delivered the match-winning kill.
de la Cruz led all players with six kills in the final game to cap off a season-best offensive performance of 21 kills on a .581 attack percentage. This was the second-most kills during a single-match in North Greenville’s program history.
Setter Sergio Carrillo set a single-match program record with 62 assists and guided the offense to out-hit Mount Olive .282 to .242, including the team having a match-best .455 attack percentage in the fifth game.
de la Cruz was one of four Crusaders with double-digit kills against Mount Olive (10-4, 7-2 ConfCarolinas).
Outside attacker Diego Rosich contributed 15 kills on a .313 attack percentage with four of those kills coming in the decisive game. Both middle Emanuel Adames and opposite Gregory Torres had 13 kills to help end Mount Olive’s eight-match winning streak.
North Greenville defensively had five players with at least 10 digs. Libero Christian Phung led the team with a season-high 23 digs.
Mount Olive libero Tevor Treser in the loss had a match-high 25 digs.
Middle attacker Luke Visgitis finished with 12 kills and zero errors on a .600 attack percentage against North Greenville. Outside attacker Tyran Gillespie also led Mount Olive with 16 kills and hit .389.
Mount Olive remained without Preseason All-American outside attacker Tobi Azeez for this match. Azeez has not played since Feb. 25 and has missed the last six matches.
North Greenville now has a half-match lead ahead of second-place Mount Olive with three remaining conference matches. The Crusaders also own the head-to-head tiebreaker after sweeping the regular season series.
The Crusaders have never finished a ConfCarolinas regular season better than third place in their program history.