In an exhilarating comeback, Cairn Men’s Volleyball earned the first-ever CSAC men’s volleyball championship title.
The conference final saw a rematch between the #1 Highlanders and #2 Saint Elizabeth Eagles, whom the Highlanders beat 31 in their last regular season game just four days prior.
Fueled by their previous loss, the Eagles started off strong in the championship, capitalizing on the Highlanders’ slow start with their own offensive firepower. Things did not look good as Cairn went down 2-0; the team would need to pull off the reverse sweep and win three straight sets in this best-of-five.
The Highlanders came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the third set, spurred on by seniors Scott Bassill and Collin Benjamin. Benjamin went on a service run in the middle of the set, scoring one of his four aces of the night, and the Highlanders plowed through the third set to take it 25-12.
The fourth set turned out to be a marathon between the two teams. The Highlanders jumped out to a 16-11 lead, but the Eagles battled back, tying
the score a staggering 12 times. The Eagles had the chance to win it all, being up 25-24, but a service error kept the set rolling. Tied again at 26, Cairn turned to their big man in the middle, freshman middle blocker Joe Poirier, who secured a huge kill followed by a block assist to put the Highlanders over the edge, 28-26, and force a deciding fifth set.
Set five found the Highlanders in the driver’s seat from the jump. With a commanding 84 lead at the midpoint of the set, outside hitter Caleb Horning delivered a strong kill that the Eagles followed with three straight hitting errors. Fittingly for the final point of the season, senior setter Scott Bassill set up senior middle blocker Collin Benjamin for the final kill of his career and the final kill of the game—comeback complete.
Following the match, Bassill was named the championship’s Most Outstanding Player. He finished with 40 assists, 11 digs, 6 blocks, 2 aces, and 2 kills in an all-around dominating performance to cap a stellar career.
Congratulations to the Highlanders on an incredible season!