No. 9 Saints push No. 1 Springfield to extra sets, fall in four

No. 9 Saints push No. 1 Springfield to extra sets, fall in four

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.— The No. 9 Marymount (Va.) University men's volleyball squad forced No. 1 Springfield College into extra sets on Thursday night, before falling short, 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 14-25, 13-25). 

The Saints stayed within striking distance of the Pride through much of set one. After trailing 21-15, the Saints used a timeout to regain their composure. Out of the timeout, MU rallied for a 3-0 run to get within three, 21-18. Sophomore Eric Wiles led the run after notching a kill and an ace. The Saints, however, were unable to overcome the difference and dropped set one, 25-20.

Back-to-back kills by Wiles and junior Erich Bratke gave the Saints an 8-5 advantage over the Pride in set two. MU continued to push the tempo, extending its lead to 18-11 following a kill from freshman Sam Safley. Springfield attempted to rally back, adding three-straight points before Marymount interrupted the run with a timeout. Junior TJ Wiechecki struck the ball with force to notch a kill, followed by an ace from Safley to end the set in favor of the blue and white, 25-22.

In set three, Wiechecki bolstered a team-high three kills, but it wasn't enough to contest with the Pride's offense. Marymount eventually fell short in the set, 25-14. 

Marymount took an early 1-0 lead and stayed even with Springfield following a kill and ace from Wiechecki to tie the set at five apiece. The Saints trailed 13-6 before burning their first timeout. Later in the set, Wiechecki pounded another ball and Wiles followed with a well-placed serve to tally an ace, cutting the deficit to 10, 20-10. The Saints were unable to rally back and lost set four, 25-13.

Wiechecki continued his strong presence on the offensive end, tying for a game-high of 13 kills. Bratke connected with six different Saints to tally 27 assists, and on the defensive end junior, Connor Choate picked up seven digs.

Marymount will continue on the road for its sixth-straight matchup against an American Volleyball College Association (AVCA) ranked opponent. The Saints will square off against No. 12 Lasell College on Friday, March 10. First serve is set for 6 p.m.