Freshman outside attacker Griffin Wheatley made the most of an opportunity to come off the bench and play in their second collegiate match.
Wheatley had the match-winning kill and three kills in the second half of the decisive fifth game as Lincoln Memorial defeated No. 19 Charleston 25-22, 19-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-12 on Saturday in Harrogate, Tennessee.
Lincoln Memorial and Charleston in a match-up between two of the top NCAA Division II teams in the nation were tied at 11-11 in the final game before Wheatley had a kill to give the Railsplitters the lead. The match-winning kill from Wheatley also capped off a 5-1 run to close out the match.
Wheatley was inserted into the lineup early in the third game and finished with 11 kills on a .381 attack percentage.
Lincoln Memorial out-hit Charleston .315 to .225, including having a .429 attack percentage in the fifth game. In addition, four Railsplitters had double-digit kills en route to the team earing its 30th consecutive home win dating back to 2021
Opposite Justin Sharfenaker led Lincoln Memorial (4-2, 1-0 IVA) with 13 kills and opened the match with five kills in the first game. Middle attacker Matthew Gentry contributed 11 kills on a .444 attack percentage, while outside attacker Shay Spadaro added 10 kills.
Middle attacker Ethan Morgan also had seven kills and zero errors on a match-best .700 attack percentage against Charleston (4-1, 0-0 EIVA).
Charleston outside attacker Ras Jesse Delancy in the loss finished with a match-high 19 kills on a .452 attack percentage. Delancy was the only Golden Eagle to have more than five kills and hit more than .200.
Lincoln Memorial out-blocked Charleston 10.5 to 9. Sharfenaker led all players with five blocks, and Gentry added four blocks in the non-conference victory.
Along with Charleston being ranked in the Division I-II national coaches poll, both teams entered this match ranked in the Division II national coaches poll. Charleston was No. 2 in the latest poll with 88 points – 14 points head of No. 3 Lincoln Memorial.
The next Division II national coaches poll will be released Tuesday on Off the Block.