Cumberland Blocks out Campbellsville in Fifth Set
Friday, March 17, 2023
Cumberland Blocks out Campbellsville in Fifth Set
Credit: Isaac Stephens

Lebanon, Tenn.-- Cumberland blockers shut down the Tigers for a five set victory, avenging their loss to the team earlier this season.

Three Phoenix attackers posted double-figure kills led by Luka Ilic with 17. Kaden Kuehler had a big night with 14 kills hitting a .458 and Christian Lester added 12 of his own. Codville Rogers kept Cumberland alive for much of the game with six total blocks. 

Caleb Ginnings had another great game leading all players with 11 digs. Jordan Pierce controlled the offense and spread out his sets with 47 total assists.

Two Campbellsville attackers also posted big numbers with Reza Tahnasebi hitting 18 and Jakob Zum Kolk recording 15. Libero Fernand Morales totaled 10 digs.

Set one started out with a tug-of-war style of play as neither side made a significant stride until a 5-0 run by the Tigers sent CU into a timeout.

The Phoenix fought back to recover the deficit with a combination of kills from Lester and Iic to even out the score 13-13.

The Cumberland attackers were lethal once the team found their groove and they carried their comeback all the way to a 25-19 win. Ilic connected on five of seven attack attempts in the set as the team hit an impressive .379.

Neither side had their best attacking game in set two as the Phoenix dropped to a .195 percent and Campbellsville fell right behind at .143.

The Tigers benefited off of three back-to-back Phoenix attack errors to start set two. Campbellsville asserted their control early with a 9-5 score despite Cumberland’s solid defense. 

A smart tip from Ilic on the outside sparked a five point run that put the Phoenix out in front for the first time all set at 12-11. The teams started trading points from then on for a contested match as they produced similar attacking statistics. 

The Tigers found a three point opening on a pair of errors from Cumberland for a 23-20 advantage, but the Phoenix answered right back with a 4-1 run to tie it up at 24 apiece.

Ilic earned Cumberland’s 25th point with a fantastic dig and backrow attack finish, but the team would error on the next opportunity. Ilic did not let up as he nailed the final point in order for set two to fall to Cumberland in extra points, 28-26.

As expected, set three was a tight battle as both teams brought their energy from the exciting previous set. The Tigers broke through first with a four point run during which they counted three kills in a row for a 15-10 lead. 

Cumberland struggled down the stretch as everything seemed to fall in Campbellsville’s favor. The Tigers were able to keep their unforced errors to a minimum with only one attack error all set, allowing them to claim the 25-19 victory.

The second set started more in Cumberland’s favor as an electric kill from Kix Ferrell brought them up 8-5. 

The Tigers rattled off three straight points, bringing them up to speed and making it an even 12-12 match. Campbellsville continued to clean up their side of the net as the Phoenix experienced a disconnect, giving the Tigers a four point edge 19-15.

Despite Cumberland’s late three point run, Campbellsville maintained consistency to force a fifth set with a 25-21 win.

Set five opened with a block party on Cumberland’s side, as they shut down the Tigers to earn three of their first six points. The Tigers were forced into a timeout as the Phoenix jumped to a 7-1 lead. 

The Phoenix were unstoppable as they rolled through the set, while Campbellsville was plagued with attacking errors for a negative team percentage. Cumberland took the set 15-8 with an entire team effort. The Phoenix picked up four enormous blocks in the final frame, three of which were assisted by Rogers.

Cumberland will have their final home match of the season next Thursday against Midway. The game will kick off at 6 pm.