Consistency leads Marian men's volleyball past Aurora

Joey Dittman sets the ball.

AURORA, Ill. - Marian University men's volleyball (11-13, 4-6 NACC) defeated Aurora with set scores of 25-21, 19-25, 25-18 and 25-23 to earn a season-series split against the Spartans.

The Sabre offense was consistent throughout the match as the Sabres hit .200 in the fourth set, their lowest percentage of the match, and .258 in the opening set, their highest of the match.

Aurora jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the opening set but the Sabres quickly bounced back as Marian managed to score the next seven points to take a 14-10 lead.  The Spartans managed to cut down the Sabre lead to as little as two but Marian would hold the lead the remainder of the set.  The second set opened back-and-forth but the Spartans were able to use an 8-1 run to even the sets.

In the crucial third set, Marian managed to jump all over the Spartans opening with a 10-2 lead.  The Sabres were able to cruise the rest of the set to take a 2-1 lead as they held Aurora to a .103 hitting percentage.

Neither side led by more than two points in the fourth set and Marian trailed for a majority of the set but were able to pull out a late rally.  Aurora held a 21-19 lead late in the set but Marian closed out the match with a 6-2 run including the final three points after trailing 23-22.

Junior Joey Dittman recorded a double-double in the win with 43 assists and 11 digs, while fellow junior Cullen Liberski also had 11 digs in the back row.

Junior Jon Smallpage led the offense with 18 kills and five service aces, while senior Aaron Wendels chipped in another 16 kills.  Sophomore Jacob DeGroot finished the match with eight kills to go with a .429 hittign percentage and junior Ben Walter had five kills to go with four block assists.

Marian closes out the weekend at No. 5 Benedictine at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 31.