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No. 14 Saints notch two top-10 victories in home trimatch

No. 14 Saints notch two top-10 victories in home trimatch

ARLINGTON, Va.— The No. 14 Marymount (Va.) University men's volleyball squad notched two upsets against ranked opponents in a tri-match Saturday afternoon against No. 9 Eastern Mennonite University and No. 5 New York University. The Saints battled past the Royals in a Continental Volleyball Conference clash, 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13), before toppling the Violets in a five-set thriller later in the day, 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18,16-14).

Marymount vs. Eastern Mennonite

The Saints dropped set one, 25-20, but rallied the next three-straight sets to overcome the Royals.

In set two, both teams battled it out, trading points throughout much of the set.  Mid-way through the set, MU came alive and pieced together a 4-0 run to take a commanding 17-14 lead. Senior Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz ignited the run after connecting with junior Erich Bratke to notch a kill. The Saints ended the set on a 4-0 run led by junior TJ Wiechecki who posted three-straight kills, prevailing on top, 25-18.

Marymount garnered a 14-9 advantage, before Eastern Mennonite battled its way back into the third set, forcing MU to use a timeout. The Saints managed to maintain a lead through the remainder of the set before finishing on top, 25-23.

The momentum stayed in favor of the Saints, as they mounted an early 7-2 lead in the fourth game, forcing the Royals to burn a timeout. MU continued to push ahead later in the set before sophomore Eric Wiles notched a kill to give the Saints a dominating 25-13 victory.

Wiechecki pieced together a well-rounded match, bolstering a game-high 19 kills, 11 digs, and five blocks. Bratke commanded the offense, notching a game-high 49 assists. On the defensive end, junior Connor Choate scooped up nine digs.

Marymount vs. New York

The Saints trailed through much of set one, forcing several ties throughout the set. Both teams traded points until the Violets outlasted the Saints, 25-21.

MU quickly turned things around in set two, piecing together a 4-0 run, led by a kill from Bratke and an ace by freshman Sam Safley. The Saints forced a Violet timeout after pushing ahead, 12-8, and continued to remain on top, until finishing the set ahead, 25-22, following a kill by Wiechecki.

Marymount mounted a comeback mid-set after trailing, 15-12, piecing together a 4-0 run to take a 16-15 advantage. The effort fell short in the end, and the Violets took set three, 25-23.

In set four, the Saints maintained a small lead down the stretch before pulling ahead following a 5-0 run, 23-17. Wiechecki once again connected with junior Graham Clark to finish set four on top, 25-18.

The final set proved to be a battle between the contenders. MU posted an early 8-4 lead before allowing NYU to rally back and tie the game at 11 all. The Saints held onto the set and won in extra points, 16-14.

Wiechecki pieced together a second impressive performance, bolstering 17 kills, and six digs. Clark also added 12 kills while hitting .500 for the Saint offense. Bratke chipped in 45 assists and 10 digs, and Choate added 12 digs on the defensive end.

The men will now travel to Boston for several matches next week, starting with Vassar College on Wednesday, March 8. First serve is set for 7 p.m.