SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Marian University men's volleyball (0-2, 0-0 NACC) opened the season falling to a pair of nationally-ranked opponents in No. 5 SUNY New Paltz and No. 9 UC Santa Cruz.
In the opener of the season, the Sabres fell behind to SUNY New Paltz dropping the opening two sets 25-22 and 25-19. Marian had a strong opening set on the offensive end with a .556 hitting percentage off of 10 kills and no errors, but the Hawks had 18 kills to secure the win.
The Sabres would go well past regulation to secure their first set win of the season taking down the Hawks 34-32 in the third. Marian then once again went past the normal 25 points defeating SUNY New Paltz 27-25 in the fourth set to force a winner-take-all fifth.
The Hawks jumped out early in the fifth and slowed down the Marian momentum cruising to a 15-6 victory.
Senior Jon Smallpage was dominant for the Sabres recording a match-high 27 kills off of a .345 hitting percentage to go with four service aces. Fellow senior Cullen Liberski led the back row with a team-high 16 digs, while senior Joey Dittman had 36 assists.
Marian then closed out the day against host No. 9 UC Santa Cruz and opened strong in the opening sets only falling 25-23 and 25-20. The Banana Slugs were then able to cruise past the Sabres in the final set by a score of 25-13.
Senior Ben Walter led the way for the Sabres with a team-high 10 digs off of a .292 hitting percentage, while Liberski added another 21 digs.
Marian closes out the Slug Slam tomorrow, Sunday, January 13, taking on No. 8 Cal Lutheran at 2 p.m. (CST) and North Central (Ill.) at 6 p.m. (CST).