Marian University men’s volleyball (12-14, 5-7 NACC) closed out the regular season defeating No. 7 Dominican with set scores of 30-28, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-22.
The Sabres came out of the gates swinging as they recorded 17 kills in the opening set, their most kills of any set during the match. Neither side would lead during the set by more than two points and the Sabres would be turned away on three set-point opportunities. The Sabres were able to close out the set with a kill from senior Aaron Wendels and a solo block from sophomore Jacob DeGroot.
Dominican answered in the second set as they hit .444 but the Sabre offense was able to keep pace hitting .303. After trailing 21-20 in the set, Dominican was able to rattle off the final five points of the set to tie the match.
In the crucial third, Marian was able to jump all over the Stars early taking an 8-3 advantage to open. Dominican would cut their deficit down to four but a 7-3 run later in the set from the Sabres gave MU a commanding 22-14 advantage. Dominican would outscore Marian 6-3 to close out the set but were unable to dig themselves out of the deficit as Marian took a 2-1 lead. The Sabres had their best offensive set in the fourth with 15 kills to only two errors for a .448 hitting percentage.
The fourth set had shades of the first set as for most of the set neither team could manage a lead larger than two points. The Stars found themselves ahead 17-15 before a quick 4-0 spurt from the Sabres turned the tide of the set. The Sabres would take their lead out to 21-20 and closed out the match strong with a 4-2 run to clinch the upset.
The Sabres closed out the match with 60 kills and a .356 hitting percentage despite 21 service errors.
Wendels shined on his Senior Day as he had a match-high 20 kills to go with seven digs. Junior Jon Smallpage also had a strong offensive night with 17 kills off of a .485 hitting percentage, while DeGroot also closed out the match with a .429 hitting percentage and eight kills.
Marian will take on Aurora in the opening round of the NACC Tournament at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 but the location will be determined by tomorrow’s match, Saturday, April 7, between Lakeland and Dominican. With a Dominican win, the Sabres would host the opening round match-up, while a Lakeland win would force a three-way tie for fourth and Marian would travel to Aurora to open the NACC Tournament.