Marian University men’s volleyball (5-7, 0-3 NACC) was swept by North Central (Ill.) in straight sets before falling to Aurora 3-1 in NACC action.
In the opener for the day, the Cardinals were able to power past the Sabres by set scores of 25-18, 25-23 and 25-19. North Central (Ill.) hit .296 for the set and had two sets where they hit above .300. The Sabre offense had a productive match as well hitting .234 with a .258 hitting percentage in the opening set.
The Sabres were led by junior Jon Smallpage who had 15 kills and a .333 hitting percentage to go with six digs and a solo block. Fellow junior Cullen Liberski had a match-high 13 digs in the loss, while junior Joey Dittman had 35 assists, nine digs and a service ace.
The second match of the day saw three of the four sets go into extras but the Spartans proved to be too much for Marian defeating the Sabres with set scores of 25-27, 27-25, 28-26 and 25-19.
An 8-2 run in the middle of the first set gave Aurora a 15-8 advantage before the Sabres rallied. With Smallpage at the service line, Marian was able to rattle off eight consecutive points to give the Sabres a 16-15 advantage. The two teams then traded points to a 24-24 tie before the Sabres held off a set-point opportunity by the Spartans at 25-24. The Sabres were able to take advantage of three attacking errors from Aurora to take the opening set.
The second set was similar as Aurora was able to use an 11-6 run in the middle of the set to jump ahead 20-13. With the duo of Smallpage at junior Tyler Barnett at the line, the Sabres once again rallied tying the game at 22-22 with a 9-2 streak. The Sabres were then able to hold off Aurora on a pair of set-point opportunities but the third time was the charm for Aurora to even the set.
Roles reversed in the third set as Marian was able to use an 8-3 run to take an 18-13 advantage and eventually took that lead out to 24-21. The Spartans battled, however, and held off the Sabres for three consecutive set points and closed out the set with a 7-2 run. Using that momentum, Aurora once again closed out the match strong in the fourth using a 12-2 run.
Smallpage finished with another strong performance recording a double-double with 21 kills and 10 digs. Barnett also had 10 digs with two service aces, while Liberski recorded a match-high 15 digs in the back row.
Marian closes out the weekend hosting No. 9 Benedictine for a 1 p.m. first serve tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 17.