Marian University men’s volleyball (10-15, 8-8 NACC) fell in the first round of the NACC tournament in straight sets to Lakeland with set scores of 25-23, 25-17, and 25-23.
The Muskies jumped out to an early 10-6 lead in the first set only to see Marian go on a 9-4 run and take a 15-14 lead. Lakeland took the next three points to retake the lead but the remainder of the set was tight with neither team leading by more than two. The two squads would find themselves tied at 23-23 before a Muskie kill and block gave Lakeland the opening set.
Lakeland once again jumped out to an early lead in the second set only to have Marian tie the game at 9-9. The Muskies then went on a 6-2 run to take a 16-12 lead with the defense forcing Marian side outs the rest of the way to cruise to the set win.
Marian would not lead in the third set with a small 4-1 run at the beginning of the set proving to be the difference. The Sabres never trailed by more than three points in the back-and-forth set but seven Marian service errors in the set thwarted any comeback attempt.
Senior Jon Smallpage paced the offense with nine kills with senior Ben Walter and junior Jacob DeGroot adding seven kills. DeGroot also finished with a .545 hitting percentage. From the back row, senior Cullen Liberski had a match-high 14 digs, and freshman Liam Skinner had three solo blocks and three assisted blocks at the net. Senior Joey Dittman finished the match with 29 assists.