RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- California Baptist University has had to face tough opponent after tough opponent this year, trying to scrape through the battles often enough against ranked foes. Saturday night the Lancers got a break from ranked conference action, but once again had to battle through the entire match.
The Lancers couldn't pull away with the win over Erskine College, dropping their second five-set decision in a row (15-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-15, 19-17). CBU falls to 4-17 overall while the Flying Fleet improve to 15-5 and extend their win streak to 11 matches.
Johannes Brink tallied a team-high 11 kills on the night, followed by Kristopher Johnson's errorless eight-kill effort. From behind the line, Rocky DeLyon served up four aces on the day, including two in a row.
CBU opened the match on fire with a 25-15 first set win. After the Flying Fleet kept the set close for the first half, the Lancers opened up their lead at 14-12 off a kill from DeLyon, but ended the set with gusto.
After Erskine put the score at 16-14, CBU scored eight-straight points to reach set point at 24-14. Joel Blocksom initiated the run with a kill from Brett Anderson. The Flying Fleet handed over the next five points and Brink added a kill to put the visitors in hot water. Erskine managed to grab a kill to stay alive, but conceded the set-ending point on a service error.
Both teams battled in the next set to try to take control of the match's momentum, but the Flying Fleet shifted the pendulum into their favor with a 26-24 win. The score tied 16 times over the course of the set, with the lead changing eight times.
Even at 24-24, the Flying Fleet secured the set win with two aces to tie the match at one all.
The third started in a similar fashion, with the two teams exchanging points, before the Lancers jumped in front by four at 9-5. After Erskine committed a service error, DeLyon stepped up and dished his first ace off a jump serve. Later on, a Flying Fleet attack error led to DeLyon's back-to-back aces, which forced an Erskine timeout.
CBU extended its lead to six points at 22-16 off another big run, scoring six-straight points, again with DeLyon at the line. Johnson started the run by slamming down a kill and DeLyon capped the run with his fourth ace of the night. The Lancers held on and came out on top 25-18 to hold a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The lead didn't last, however, as Erskine took the next two sets to claim the match. Despite hustle plays and extra defensive efforts, the Lancers couldn't hold off a .577 Flying Fleet attack clip in the fourth and struggled to build offensively in the fifth, dropping the sets 25-15 and 19-17.
Back into conference action, CBU heads to No. 3-ranked BYU next Saturday for a 7 p.m. start time. The Lancers return home for their final two contests in Van Dyne Gym on Wednesday, March 26, against UC Santa Barbara and Thursday, March 27, against UCLA, both beginning at 7 p.m.