Marian University men’s volleyball (9-9, 7-3 NACC) closed out a four-match home-stand defeating Aurora with set scores of 27-25, 25-27, 25-17, and 27-25.
After Aurora opened the match with an 11-9 lead, the Sabres were able to rattle off six straight points with freshman Jacob Jurney at the line to take a 15-11 lead. The Spartans would retake the lead at 18-17 shortly after before a 5-2 Marian run gave the Sabres a 22-20 advantage.
The momentum shifted towards Aurora once again after the Sabres were unable to convert a set-point opportunity. With the Spartans serving for set point at 25-24, the Sabres were able to rattle off three straight points to take the set at 27-25.
Marian looked in control leading by as much as five points in the second set and extending that lead out to 24-21. The Spartans rallied, however, scoring four straight points to earn a set-point opportunity themselves. Aurora was turned away in their first opportunity to take the set but their second opportunity saw them even the sets.
The Sabres took control of the third set as well and made sure to not squander their opportunity to take a 2-1 lead. After leading 10-9, Marian was able to rattle off a 10-3 run to take a commanding 20-12 lead. The two teams would trade points the rest of the way to give Marian the advantage headed to the fourth set.
Aurora didn’t hold a lead in the fourth until late with 24-23 only to have the Sabres turn away a pair of set-point opportunities. Marian would close out the match with three straight points.
Senior Jon Smallpage paced the offense with a team-high 16 kills, while junior Jacob DeGroot had nine kills and a .467 hitting percentage. From the back row, senior Cullen Liberski dominated with 24 digs, while freshman Liam Skinner had a hand in six blocks. Senior Joey Dittman had a strong match assisting in 40 Marian kills.
Marian opens a five-match road trip at Dominican Wednesday, March 20 for a 7 p.m. first serve.