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ST. LOUIS – [BOX SCORE] No. 2 Missouri Baptist opened pool play at the 2017 NAIA Invitational with a 3-0 sweep of No. 8 Missouri Valley (25-20, 25-17, 25-20).
The Spartans (26-2) hit a set-high .290 in the first set to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Freshman Luka Cajic opened the match with a kill and led the Spartans will 11 for the match.
The Serbian also posted back-to-back kills midway through set one to push the lead to 15-12. MBU would maintain roughly a three-point cushion until the end. A Don Fleming kill ended set one with the score 25-20 in MBU's favor.
Cajic and the Spartans carried the momentum into set two. The navy and white opened on an 8-0 run as Kyle Foley spent eight straight points at the service line. Cajic, Cam Hibbler and Daniel Prada all had kills during the stretch.
The No. 8 Vikings (18-13), who advanced in the play-in match with a win over No. 5 Ottawa, never got closer than six in the set. They didn't go down without a fight, however. The team from Marshall, Mo. jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the third.
The lead was their first since it was 3-2 Vikings in set one. The set stood tied at 9-9 before senior Mico Janicijevic gave MBU the lead for good. Janicijevic finished the match with six kills on 13 attacks. His fourth gave the Spartans a 10-9 advantage and they wouldn't trail again.
A service ace from Hibbler gave MBU point 24 and they won it on a service error from the Vikings. Hibbler finished second on the team with eight kills on 12 attacks. Kyle Foley recorded 28 assists and added two service aces. Robert Hall added a team-high 11 digs. Andrea Maggio recorded 11 kills for Missouri Valley.
The Spartans continue pool play later this afternoon against No. 4 Warner at 4:00pm. To watch go to NAIANetwork.org.