Fairfield, Conn. (January 11, 2013)—The Pioneers took the floor tonight for their season opener led by new Head Coach Kalani Efstathiou. A 2010 graduate of Sacred Heart and alumnus of the Men's Volleyball program, Efstathiou looked for his first career win against Grand Canyon University of Phoenix, Ariz. Sacred Heart's Jason Kinney (Salem, N.H.) led the match with 18 kills, but the Sacred Heart Men's Volleyball team dropped the 2013 season opener 3-1 to Grand Canyon University.
The 'Lopes nabbed the first three points of the match on SHU errors, maintaining the lead up until an attack error gave the Pioneers their first lead of the night 9-8. The teams exchanged points throughout the middle of the set until a Sacred Heart service error made GCU the first team to 20 points with the Pioneers trailing by two. The two teams continued to trade points but Grand Canyon could not be caught as they took the opening set 25-22.
An error free performance from Kinney with five kills on nine attempts helped the Pioneers secure the second set by a narrow margin of 25-23. Contributing to this effort was freshmen setter Benjamin Thomas (Swansea, Ill.) who registered eight assists and one kill in the set. His lone kill came well timed as his crafty setter attack on set point, left all six Grand Canyon defenders frozen and evened the match at one set apiece.
The third set saw numerous hitting errors by the Pioneers as they hit -0.057 with nine kills and 11 errors on 35 attempts. Combined with an effective attack by the 'Lopes, these Pioneer errors allowed Grand Canyon to decisively take the set by a score of 25-18.
The fourth set was much more closely contested although hitting errors continued to plague Sacred Heart. Junior outside hitter Brad Borsay (Richmond, R.I.) led all players in the set with five kills. The match was close late as the score stood 19-18 in favor of the 'Lopes. This is the closest the Pioneers would come to evening the match as Grand Canyon won six of the final nine points to close out the set 25-21 and take the match by a final score of 3-1.
Sacred Heart is back in action next weekend, taking on IPFW Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and Ball State Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.