Middles dominate as Marian men's volleyball defeats Lakeland in four sets

Robert Walusay and Liam Skinner go up for a block.

FOND DU LAC - Marian University men's volleyball (4-8, 3-2 NACC) returned home to defeat Lakeland in four sets with set scores of 25-16, 30-32, 25-21, and 26-24.

The Sabres dominated the opening set with Marian hitting .286 while holding the Muskies to a -.032 hitting percentage.  Lakeland took the first lead of the set at 7-5 but Marian then went on an 11-2 run to take a commanding 16-9 lead. The Sabres were then able to cruise to the first set win.

The largest lead for the second set was only four points and went well into extras to decide a winner.  The Sabres were unable to convert on three set-point opportunities with the Muskies dropping three set-point opportunities as well before the fourth time proved to be the charm.  Lakeland would score the final three points of the set to even the sets heading into the third.

The third set was tight as well with the largest lead being only three points leading up to a 20-20 tie.  Then the Sabres were able to put together a strong finish scoring five of the final six points to take control of the match.  Marian used that momentum to jump out to a 12-5 lead in the fourth extending it out to 19-12. 

The Muskies were able to bounce back, however, and go on a 10-3 run to tie the set at 22 apiece.  After dropping their first match-point opportunity, Marian was able to put the match away after a kill and solo block from senior Jon Smallpage.

Smallpage paced the offense with a match-high 16 kills to go with a .220 hitting percentage.  Junior Jacob DeGroot had four block assists to go with 14 kills and a .476 hitting percentage, while freshman Liam Skinner also had four block assists to go with eight kills and a .583 hitting percentage.

From the back row, freshman Jacob Jurney had 10 kills and senior Joey Dittman also had 10 digs to go with 43 assists for a double-double and four block assists.

Marian hits the road for Maranatha Baptist Monday, February 25 with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. in non-conference action.