Marian University men’s volleyball (2-2, 0-1 NACC) defeated Wittenberg in five sets before falling to Lakeland in straight sets to split a home triangular.

The Sabre offense had a strong start to the day hitting .320 in the first set against Wittenberg and followed that up with a .389 hitting percentage in the second.  This allowed Marian to take a 2-0 lead after taking the opening sets 25-20 and 28-26.

Wittenberg would rally, however, taking the third set 25-17 and the fourth set 29-27 to force a decisive fifth set.  The Sabres were able to come out strong to open the fifth scoring six of the first seven points.  The Tigers were able to cut the Marian lead down to one with four straight points but the Sabres responded with a 7-2 run to give themselves a 13-7 cushion.

Marian was able to close out the set taking advantage of an error followed by a block from senior Jacob DeGroot and sophomore Zach Zelenik.

DeGroot paced the offense with a team-best 14 kills off of a .520 hitting percentage, while sophomores Blake Badtke and Liam Skinner each added 11 kills.  From the back row, senior Isaiahs Mena had 11 digs, while Zelenik finished the match with a double-double after recording 11 digs with 43 assists.

The Sabre defense was especially dominant at the net recording 16 blocks with Skinner recording three solo blocks to go with seven assisted blocks.  Freshman Marc Rey also had a solo block to go with seven assisted blocks.

The second match of the day saw Marian get out to a slow start against Lakeland and Marian was unable to rally late.  The Muskies took the opening two sets 25-17 and 25-21 before Marian put together a nice push in the third.

Marian led the third 13-7 after a 6-2 run before Lakeland was able to go on an 11-3 spurt that gave them an 18-16 advantage.  The set was tied late at 21-21 before Lakeland closed out the match scoring four of the final six points.

Eight different Sabres recorded at least one kill in the defeat led by seven kills from Mena.  Senior Thomas Jones led Marian with 11 digs, while sophomore Carzell Combs added 10 digs.

Marian remains at home to take on Adrian Friday, Jan. 31 for a 7 p.m. first serve.