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Men's Volleyball - Fri, Feb. 3, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
Enrique Lopez notched two double-doubles to help HIU stay unbeaten in Iowa (Photo by Liza Rosales)
Enrique Lopez notched two double-doubles to help HIU stay unbeaten in Iowa (Photo by Liza Rosales)

DES MOINES, IA – No. 10 Hope International University played three more matches today at the 2017 Molten Invitational hosted by Grand View (IA). The Royals started the day with a sweep of Culver-Stockton (MO) and finished with a pair of four-set wins against (RV) Graceland (IA) and No. 7 Lourdes (OH).

The Royals made quick work of the boys from Culver-Stockton – a standout performance from Nicolas Bilinski (SO/Placentia, CA) with 14 kills with a .379 attack percentage and five digs helped HIU sweep through the Wildcats with set scores of 25-15, 25-23, and 25-23. HIU also got eight kills from Tyler Greene (FR/Lombard, IL) while Jared Shirai (SR/Honolulu, HI) and Enrique Lopez (SR/Santa Ana, CA) combined for 29 assists in the win.

HIU had to battle back from a 0-1 hole after dropping the first set to Graceland (IA), 19-25. The Royals bounced back with three straight wins to claim the match with set scores of 25-28, 25-28, and 25-17. Osmundson carried the day for HIU in the second match with 10 kills and three aces against the Yellowjackets while Lopez dished out 28 assists in the win and notched a double-double as well with 12 digs.

The Royals ended the day with another tough test against No. 7 Lourdes (OH) – the Royals dropped the opening set, 24-26,, and needed extra rallies in two of the next three but still came away with a four-set win. Set scores of 28-26, 26-24, and 25-23 wrapped up the Royals' fourth win at the Invite. The Royals' offense was powered by double-digit performances from T. Greene, Charles Belvin (JR/Long Beach, CA), and N. Bilinski in the match. Lopez got another double-double with 44 assists and 12 digs in the win and at the end of the day HIU stood undefeated at the Invite with a 4-0 tally after four matches.

"Tournament competition is great and every team that we faced brought out the best in us - there are a lot of great teams in the NAIA and these are the best of them we faced so far," Coach Henry Valiente Jr. said after the day's final match. "It is so special when each game shows how deep we are [as a team]. Each game consists of different lineups and different people stepping up to the plate.

"I love how anyone can be the spark plug that promotes great energy that helps us win these important games," Valiente Jr. continued to say. "The beauty of our team is how selfless we are, no one ever asks for playing time and they cheer on their peers with passion and heart which allows me and my staff to coach them and they respond with no questions asked. We are definitely happy with our play thus far but still we as a team want to get better."

The Royals improve to 8-4 overall after three wins on the day and will face Morningside (IA) and their host Grand View (IA) tomorrow in a doubleheader to close out their time in Iowa – links to live coverage are available at hiuroyals.com.

M - Volleyball
Overall GSAC Streak
0-0 (.000) 0-0 (.000)