Carthage Cruises Past Loras And #12 Rivier On Saturday

KENOSHA, Wis. – The Carthage College Red Men moved their winning streak to 11 matches on Saturday as the men's volleyball team swept a pair of matches at Tarble Arena against Loras College and #12 Rivier College.
 
The two wins, Carthage's third and fourth in the past five days, move the #8 Red Men to 12-1 overall on the season and 10-0 in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League.  A split for Rivier moves them to 11-8 on the season, while MCVL foe Loras falls to 6-10 and 4-8 in the league following two losses.
 
"We knew looking at this week that it was going to be a challenge, with MSOE on Wednesday and then adding in three matches over Friday and Saturday.  That is a lot to ask," said head men's volleyball coach L.J. Marx following Saturday's wins.  "A lot of what we were able to do can be attributed back to the non-traditional season with the time effort and energy the guys have put in to make sure their body is conditioned to handle something like this.  At the end of the week it was a good series of wins.  We executed some game plans very well.  We had a few mental lapses here and there but we responded well.  We were able to rotate some playing time amongst the troops, which helped us keep our legs fresh and showed that we are more than six guys deep.  I think this a nice momentum builder going into the next phase of the season that begins with another tough test with a pair of long road trips for a couple conference matches.  Hopefully we can keep winning!"
 
Carthage opened the day cruising past Loras, 25-16, 25-20, 25-15, to open the triangular.  The Red Men outhit the Duhawks .375 to .078 on their way to their second straight sweep.  For the match, the Red Men had just eight attack errors to Loras' 23 in the three-setter.
 
Griffin Shields started a very strong day off with a match-high 11 kills against the Duhawks as he hit .350.  Shields added six blocks to lead the Red Men to the win.  Max Bongratz finished second on the team with nine kills but hit a fantastic .615 from the floor with just one error in 13 attack attempts as well as three of the Red Men's five service aces. 
 
Marc Hansen and Matt Reinsel rounded out the Red Men's offensive leaders as Hansen added eight kills and Reinsel finished with 32 of Carthage's 35 assists.
 
In the afternoon session against #12 Rivier, Shields turned in an even better performance as he tallied another match-high 15 kills, while hitting a team-high .458 in the match.  Shields also led the Red Men in blocks as he recorded six for the second time on the day and ripped three aces to lead all players.
 
On the play of Shields, Marx said, "Griffin seemed to find his rhythm again.  I think between a combination of being a little banged up early and maybe a little struggle as he was making his way back, he was unable to find his rhythm and I think it played a little game with his psyche and confidence.  We kept telling him to take good swings and trust himself and he did that this week.  There were a few times he had lapses but he quickly corrected himself and go back at it, which was great to see…  It's something that is happening with more and more of our guys and if that continues we can have a pretty good run here."
 
Making his first career start, Braeden Waumans finished with a career-high ten kills in the win over the nationally ranked opponent and Marc Hansen and Max Bongratz each had six.
 
Matt Reinsel continued to spread the ball around with 39 assists in the win and setting the Red Men up to hit .341 in the match. 
 
Next up for Carthage, the Red Men will hit the road for a pair of road games next weekend at Greenville College on Friday and in St. Louis, Missouri at Fontbonne University on Saturday.