Marian University men’s volleyball (4-5, 0-1 NACC) led 2-0 after two sets but Lakeland rallied for a five-set win with set scores of 22-25, 20-25, 25-14, 25-16 and 15-13.
The Sabres hit .286 in each the first set and second set with a combined 23 kills between the opening sets. Marian opened the first set with an 11-3 run as they were able to hold off a late surge from the Muskies. The second set was just the opposite as Marian and Lakeland went toe-to-toe to open the set out to a 17-17 draw before Marian went on a 6-2 run to take a 23-19 advantage. Junior Thomas Jones and sophomore Jacob DeGroot then gave the Sabres a two-advantage with a pair of kills.
Junior Jon Smallpage led the Sabres after two sets with nine kills and a .417 hitting percentage.
From there, however, the tide turned as the Lakeland defense held the Sabre offense in check. Marian would hit -.333 in the third set and then -.154 in the fourth as Lakeland began their rally. The Muskies opened the third set with a 17-6 run and then closed out the fourth set with a 9-3 streak to force a winner-take-all fifth set.
In the decisive fifth, Lakeland continued to ride their momentum as the Muskies opened with an 8-3 lead as the teams switched sides. Marian then rallied as they cut the deficit down to one with a 6-2 run to put Lakeland ahead 10-9 and force a Muskie timeout. The Muskies were able to tally the first pair of points out of the timeout and brought maintained their advantage to a 14-12 tally forcing a Sabre timeout. The Marian timeout was able to hold off the first match-point attempt by Lakeland but a kill from the Muskies in the next point clinched the come from behind win.
Senior Aaron Wendels and Smallpage each closed out the match with 12 kills to lead the Sabre offense. Junior Tyler Barnett posted his first career double-double in the loss with 26 assists and a team-high 10 digs, while DeGroot had two solo blocks and an assisted block to go with a pair of service aces. Junior Ben Walter also added three block assists at the net and three service aces.
Marian closes out the weekend at MSOE tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 10, with first serve scheduled for 1 p.m.