AURORA, Ill. – Marian University men’s volleyball (14-3, 3-1 NACC) suffered their first loss in conference play falling at Aurora 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, and 25-22.
Marian was able to get out to a strong start winning the first set. After trailing 19-16, Marian was able to rally to take the first set highlighted by a 7-2 run. The Spartan defense then clamped down on the Marian offense for the remainder of the match. Marian would be held to a negative hitting percentage in the second set as a fast start proved to be the difference for Aurora to even the sets.
Neither team held a lead larger than two points in a wild third set. The Sabres were able to rally after trailing 22-20 to tie the set at 23-23 but the Spartans were able to score back-to-back points to earn the set. The Spartans were able to jump out to an 8-2 lead to open the fourth but Marian managed to cut that deficit down to one at 14-13. Aurora was able to take that lead out to 19-18 and used a quick 4-1 run to eventually end the match.
Marian had four attackers record at least eight kills led by sophomore Derek Wills who had nine kills and eight digs. Freshman Keanu Ouranitsas-Hayes had eight kills without an error on 14 attacks, while senior Zach Zelenik posted a double-double with 35 assists and 11 digs. At the net, Ouranitsas-Hayes and senior Liam Skinner each had four assisted blocks.
Marian returns home to host Lakeland Wednesday, February 23 for a 7 p.m. first serve.