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No. 12 Men's volleyball falls in five-set thriller to Lions

No. 12 Men's volleyball falls in five-set thriller to Lions

ARLINGTON, Va.—The No. 12 Marymount (Va.) University men's volleyball team fell in a five-set dual with Mount St. Joseph University on Saturday afternoon, 3-2 (28-26, 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 13-15).

The Saints trailed most of set one before the momentum shifted in favor of the blue and white. A kill by junior TJ Wiechecki put the Saints within one of the Lions, and sophomore Remington Shahan stepped back to serve for the Saints, 20-19. MU took advantage of two MSJ errors and Wiechecki added another kill to push the Saints ahead 21-20. Marymount prevailed in extra points, 28-26.

In set two, it was a close battle until Marymount fell behind late in the set, 20-16. The blue and white used a timeout in hopes of slowing down the Lions. Shortly after the timeout, Shahan notched a kill and MSJ committed an error to bring the Saints within three, 21-18. The late effort by the Saints wasn't enough, as MU dropped set two, 25-21. 

Marymount got off to an early start in set three, piecing together a 3-0 run. Sophomore Eric Wiles led the streak with back-to-back kills and junior Erich Bratke added another to pull ahead, 12-7, and force MSJ to use a timeout. Marymount led through the rest of the set before senior Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz registered a kill to end it, 25-22.

The blue and white trailed early on, using a timeout after getting behind 7-4 in the fourth set. Out of the timeout, freshman James Safley came out swinging to notch a kill. In a late push, Shahan and freshman Shane Limbaugh added back-to-back kills and a MSJ error cut the deficit to six, 23-17. MU was unable to overcome the difference however, falling in set four, 25-19, and send the match into a deciding set. 

MU turned things around in set five, taking a commanding 4-1 lead to force an early MSJ timeout. The Lions rallied back to tie the set, 10 all, before Marymount used its first timeout. Trailing 14-12, Marymount used its second timeout on match point in hopes of shifting the momentum in its favor. Safley kept the Saints alive, bolstering another kill, but the last-ditch effort wasn't enough, as the Saints fell short, 15-13.

Wiechecki pieced together an impressive performance, registering a game-high 19 kills, while also adding six blocks and 11 digs. Safley and Shahan notched 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Bratke commanded the offense, adding a game-high 52 assists and five kills. On the defensive end, junior Connor Choate picked up a game-high 15 digs. 

The men will take some time off before heading to Thiel College on Friday, February 17 to open Continental Volleyball Conference play. First serve is set for 7 p.m.