CHICAGO – Marian University men’s volleyball (8-12, 2-6 NACC) had a strong showing at Illinois Tech defeating the Scarlet Hawks with set scores of 25-15, 16-25, 29-27 and 25-21.
The Sabres opened the match with a strong statement as they easily defeated IIT hitting .222 in the opening set, 11 kills to only five errors, while holding the Scarlet Hawks to a .000 hitting percentage. Illinois Tech had an answer, however, in the second set to even the match.
The third set was a grinding set where neither team managed a lead larger than four points. The Sabres found themselves behind 23-20 before MU managed to put together a quick 4-0 to turn the tables and take a 24-23 advantage. The Scarlet Hawks had an answer as they held off the Marian set-point opportunity and went on to have three set-point opportunities of their own. The Sabres battled back, however, and after trailing 27-26, took the next three points for the set win.
Both offenses had strong performances in the fourth set but the Sabre offense was able to outlast IIT hitting .423 with 14 kills to only three errors on 26 attempts. A strong finish proved to be the difference as Illinois Tech led 17-16 in the set before Marian closed out the match on a 9-4 run.
For the first time this season, Marian was victorious despite recording fewer kills than their opponent. Senior Aaron Wendels had 14 kills to lead Marian, while junior Jon Smallpage had 13 kills and fellow junior Ben Walter hit .364 with 12 kills.
Smallpage and Walter each had big nights as the net as well with Smallpage recording four solo blocks and three block assists, while Walter had a pair of solo blocks and a pair of block assists.
Marian returns home to start a three-match homestand against Maranatha Baptist Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m. from Sadoff Gym.