Marian University men’s volleyball earned a berth into the NACC Tournament semifinals where the Sabres will face top-seeded and nationally-ranked No. 8 Dominican Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. from Igini Sports Forum.
The fourth-seeded Sabres earned a dominating sweep of the fifth-seeded Aurora Spartans from a packed Sadoff Gym with set scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-22. The Marian offense had a big game with 43 kills in the victory with a .211 hitting percentage and were led by junior Jon Smallpage who hit .452 with a match-high 16 kills. Smallpage was especially dominant in the third set where he recorded seven of his kills and hit .700. The defense wasn’t to be outdone by the offense as Marian out-dug the Spartans 44-37 with junior Cullen Liberski recording a match-high 13 digs.
The Liberski and Smallpage duo were each announced as members of the All-NACC squad along with senior Aaron Wendels. Wendels and Smallpage led the Sabre offense all season long and closed out the regular season as the only hitters in the NACC with more than 3.0 kills per set. Liberski closed out the regular season ranked second in the NACC, fifth in the nation with 3.28 digs per set.
Dominican defeated Lakeland in the regular-season finale to earn a share of the NACC regular season title and via a tiebreaker earned the top seed for the NACC Tournament. The Stars lead the NACC with 12.27 kills per set and 2.34 blocks per set. Senior Nick Timrick leads the conference with 103 total blocks, while junior Adam Eboli is third in the NACC with 69 total blocks.
When the Sabres travel to Dominican it will be the third match of the season-series with the teams splitting the first two match-ups. In each match during the regular season, it was the home squad that came away with a victory in four sets. In the most recent match, just six days ago in Sadoff Gym, Marian hit .356 to defeat the then-ranked No. 7 Stars led by a 20-kill performance from Wendels that earned him NACC Player of the Week.
The game will be live streamed by Dominican with live video and live stats made available at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/dustars/. A full preview of the match can be found at http://sabreathletics.com/sports/mvball/2017-18/files/DOMU_NACC.pdf.
The winner will move on to the NACC Tournament Championship game Saturday, April 13 where they will face the winner of the other semifinal match-up between second-seeded and nationally-ranked No. 9 Benedictine and third-seeded MSOE.