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Grand Canyon Rallies Back To Down Pacific Men's Volleyball

Jan 10, 2014

Freshman OH Thomas Hodges posted 16 kills while junior MB Tommy Carmody added 12, but the Pacific men's volleyball team fell in five sets (25-16, 25-23, 19-25, 22-25, 12-15) to Grand Canyon Friday at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

Hodges added seven blocks, while Carmody and sophomore MB Marty Ross each added six. Ross also finished with six kills. Sophomore setter Marco Grasso posted 40 assists with four blocks and eight digs while senior libber Javier Caceres pulled up 10 digs. Sophomore OH Peter Edwards chipped in nine digs and eight kills while sophomore OH Christian Franceschi added nine kills and five digs.

Grand Canyon's Ben Ponnet tallied a game-high 23 kills while Gerrard Lipscombe added 16 and Robbie Brannick chipped in 11.

Pacific falls to 1-1 on the year, while Grand Canyon improves to 1-0.

The Tigers roared out to a three-point lead in set one behind a kill from Christian Franceschi and blocks from Carmody and Hodges. A block from Edwards and Ross preceded an ace from Hodges as Pacific stretched the lead to 9-3. The Tigers converted their first six attempts into kills before a block by the Antelopes. Franceschi's cross-court blast and a block from Ross and Grasso gave Pacific control of the set, 18-11.

Carmody set up set point with a kill from the middle, and a service error gave the Tigers a 25-16 win. Pacific hit .579 in set one with 13 kills against two errors.

After falling behind 2-1 in set two, Pacific reeled off four-straight points, including back-to-back kills from Carmody. Edwards and Ross each added kills as the Tigers stretched the lead to 10-5. Franceschi doubled up for back-to-back kills and Hodges gave the Tigers a 16-10 advantage with a kill off the hands of the Canyon block.

Grand Canyon reeled off four-straight points before Hodges found the floor from the right pin to re-establish a four-point lead. But the Antelopes refused to go quietly, with another four points to claw within 20-19. Ross and Grasso teamed for a block and Franceschi tucked an attack into the corner for a 22-10 lead. Hodges, Carmody and Edwards stacked the pin for a block for set point, and the Tigers closed out set two, 25-23, on a service error. Pacific converted at .367 for the set.

Set three was knotted up early, with neither side taking more than a point advantage from 3-1 Pacific until Grand Canyon stretched the lead to 14-10. Ross and Edwards recorded kills as the Tigers surged back to within one. A pair of Pacific attacks sailed long as GCU stretched lead back out to 20-14 with a 5-0 run. Pacific would pull within 23-19, but the Tigers' pushed an attack wide to set up set point and GCU hammered home an overpass for a 25-19 win.

The Antelopes took an early 9-6 lead in set four, before Carmody ripped home a kill from the middle. Ben Ponnet's kill restored a four-point margin, and an overpass ricocheted to the floor for a 13-8 GCU lead. Carmody answered with his 10th kill as Pacific pulled within 13-10. The Tigers scratched back to within 16-15 before Ponnet landed a service ace for a three-point lead. Carmody posted a kill as the Tigers came backs within one again at 19-18, and Hodges, Carmody and Edwards teamed up for a block on the left pin, but GCU took a 21-19 lead on Connor Dougherty's kill.

Pacific posted another block, as Ross and Hodges stuffed an attempt, but the Tigers were called for a lift for a 22-20 Canyon advantage. Ponnet set up set-point for Grand Canyon with a cross-court kill, but Pacific fended it off with a kill from Franceschi. However, Ross's serve went into the net for a 25-22 Canyon win.

Franceschi opened set five with a kill from the left pin, but GCU posted a block for a 3-2 lead. The Tigers posted the block from Ross and Grasso to knot the set and Hodges dropped a service ace for a 5-1 Pacific run and a 7-6 lead. Grasso faked a set an flipped the ball to the open floor to tie the set at 8-8. Carmody tied the set at 11-11 with a kill, and Hodges knotted it up at 12-12. But Ponnet found the floor for a 14-12 GCU lead and match point. Dougherty's block provided the game-winner.

The Tigers are back in action against No. 8 Lewis at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Spanos Center.

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