Fast start not enough for Sabres against MSJ

FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Marian University men's volleyball (8-13, 5-9 MCVL) led early in each set but fell to Mount St. Joseph in four sets with scores of 19-25, 25-20, 25-22 and 25-22.

The Sabres opened the match hitting .206 in the opening set with 11 kills to only four errors.  A 5-1 Marian run after MSJ led 14-12 proved to be the difference as MU was able to gain the lead for the remainder the set.  Marian was able to use their momentum to close out the set on a 7-2 run.

Sophomore Jon Smallpage led the way in the set with seven kills and a .385 hitting percentage, while sophomore Cullen Liberski had several big digs totaling five for the set.

Marian opened the second set with a 9-4 lead drawing a MSJ timeout.  The Lions provided a spurt of offense but the Sabres were able to hold off the initial run before the Lions used a 6-0 run to take a 16-14 lead.  MU would use a timeout to rally but the Sabres were unable to cut into the deficit.

Mount St. Joseph jumped out fast in the third set but the Sabres were able to keep the deficit manageable.  A 7-2 run in the middle of the set allowed Marian to cut the lead down to one and later to only one at 21-20 before a Lion timeout sparked MSJ to close out the set with a 4-2 run.

The Sabres were able to respond early in the fourth scoring eight of the first 12 points in the set drawing a Lion timeout.  Similarly to the second set, the MSJ timeout played a big role as the Lions went on a 6-2 run to tie the set at 10-10.  The Lions would use an 8-2 run shortly after to take an 18-15 lead that they were able to hold the remainder of the set and clinch the match in four sets.

Smallpage led the offense with a match-high 18 kills, while junior Aaron Wendels chipped in 15 kills with a .244 hitting percentage.  Defensively, Liberski had a match-high 18 digs and sophomore Jon Sattersten had four block assists.

Sophomore Joey Dittman recorded a double-double with 34 assists and 10 digs.

Marian closes out the weekend and season series against No. 14 MSOE tomorrow, Saturday, March 25, with first serve at 2 p.m.