PLYMOUTH, Wis. – After dropping a five-set match to Lakeland earlier this season, Marian University men’s volleyball (7-11, 2-5 NACC) defeated the Muskies in five sets with set scores of 17-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20 and 18-16.
Similar to that match earlier this season the home squad jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the Muskies hit .478 in the opening pair of sets.
The Sabres trailed 16-14 in the third set before the tide of the whole match changed with Marian going on an 8-1 run to take a 21-16 lead. Marian cruised to the set win and used that momentum to jump out to a fast start in the fourth set leading 11-5. The Sabres used a 6-1 run later in the set to easily took the set forcing the winner-take-all fifth. The MU defense had a strong set in the fourth where they held Lakeland to a -.029 hitting percentage.
The Sabres once again jumped out fast to start the fifth as they led 7-1 before Lakeland rallied to score seven straight points to take the lead at 8-7. The two squads then went back-and-forth until Lakeland found themselves with a match-point at 14-13 that the Sabres thwarted away. This would prove to be the only match-point opportunity for Lakeland. For Marian, Lakeland would manage to turn away the first pair of match points before the third time proved to be the charm as the Sabres completed the comeback with an 18-16 win.
Senior Aaron Wendels continued his hot streak of late with a match-high 21 kills and two block assists, while junior Jon Smallpage chipped in 14 kills and three service aces. Junior Joey Dittman recorded a double-double in the win with 17 digs and 44 assists with junior Cullen Liberski also recording 17 digs. Junior Tyler Barnett also had a strong game with six kills off of a .500 hitting percentage to go with 12 digs.
Marian closes out the weekend hosting MSOE tomorrow, Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m. from Sadoff Gym.