COSTA MESA, Calif. - The Royals traveled to Costa Mesa on Wednesday night looking to upset their conference rival #5 Vanguard. The Royals took set one but dropped the match to the Lions 1-3 to move to 1-1 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.

In the first set, the Royals offense was able to get ahead of the Lions 9-5 as they went on a 4-0 scoring run before the Lions took a timeout. The Lions cut the Royals 6 point advantage all the way down to one (18-17) to make the first set come down to the wire. With the set tied at 24, the Lions gained the advantage on the next point to take the lead. The Royals continued to be consistent on offense as they battled t the entire set and hit .481 as a team to win the first set 30-28. 

Leading by one set, Hope International fell behind early in the fourth set (3-9) and could never recover. Vanguard led by double digits and went on to win, 13-25, evening the match at one set apiece.

The Royals came back with the energy they had in set one and went up 7-1 to start the third set with help from two blocks from Chase Larson (SR/Henderson, NV). The Lions tied things up at 11 apiece, and from there, the game was back-and-forth until the Lions took a 4-point advantage (14-18). The Royals dropped set three 18-25. 

In the fourth set, the two teams were neck and neck initially, with the set being tied 6 times and 2 lead changes. The Royals allowed the Lions to go on a 5-0 scoring run due to three straight service aces to put the Royals at a five-point deficit. The Royals were unable to overcome their deficit and fell in set four 19-25. 

The Royals were led by Joshua Nehls (SR/Downey, CA) 19 kills and Isaac Liva (JR/Miliani, HI) 15 kills, while Brandon Holderbach Lee (SR/Lancaster, CA) had 38 assists. 

Hope International will travel to Santa Clarita, CA, for a non-conference match against The Master's University on Friday, February 12th at 7:30 pm.