Sabre men’s volleyball splits final tune-up before NACC play

February 5, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Marian University men’s volleyball (4-4, 0-0 NACC) fell to No. 12 Mount St. Joseph in straight sets before defeating Elmira in straight sets to close out ‘Power Weekend.’

In the opening match of the day, the nationally-ranked Lions only got better as the match went along defeating Marian 25-21, 25-17 and 25-16.  The Sabres had their best set of the match come in the opener when they hit .103 with 12 kills.

Senior Aaron Wendels continued his strong weekend with a team-high nine kills in the loss, while junior Jon Smallpage chipped in eight kills and three block assists.  Junior Tyler Barnett also added six kills with seven digs and sophomore Jacob DeGroot hit .250 with six kills and three block assists.

Junior Cullen Liberski recorded a team-high 11 kills from the back row and fellow junior Joey Dittman had 28 assists with five digs.

The finale of the weekend saw the Sabres find their stride as they took three close sets against Elmira with set scores of 25-20, 25-23 and 25-23.

After the Sabres opened the match with a 9-8 lead, Marian went on an 8-2 run to take a commanding 17-10 advantage.  The Soaring Eagles used a timeout to break the momentum and promptly cut the Marian lead down to three at 20-17.  Marian rebounded, however, as they were able to close out the set with kills from Smallpage and Wendels.

Neither team led by more than three points in the second set of the match, which eventually led up to a 20-20 draw.  The Soaring Eagles looked poised to even the sets after taking a 23-22 advantage, but the Sabres fought back to take the final three points of the set.  Marian had their best set in the second where they had 22 kills hitting .476.

The third set was even tighter with neither team leading by more than two points but the Sabres were able to go blow for blow with Elmira to sweep the Soaring Eagles.

Marian closed out the match with a .297 hitting percentage led by Smallpage who had a match-high 17 kills and a .364 hitting percentage.  DeGroot also chipped in double-digit kills to go with a .444 hitting percentage.

The back row had three players reach double-digit digs led by Wendels who had a match-high 17 digs.  Liberski added 14 digs, while Dittman paired his 11 digs with 42 assists for his first double-double of the season.

Marian opens NACC play at home hosting Lakeland in the first home match of the season Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. from Sadoff Gym.