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No. 11 Saints take No. 4 Vassar to five sets again, fall short on Senior Night

No. 11 Saints take No. 4 Vassar to five sets again, fall short on Senior Night

ARLINGTON, Va.— The No. 11 Marymount (Va.) University men's volleyball squad stumbled against No. 4 Vassar College on Friday night, dropping an exciting five-set decision on Senior Night, 3-2 (24-26, 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 9-15).

The score remained tight early on until the Saints pieced together a 3-0 run to take a 12-8 lead and force a timeout by Vassar. The Brewers rallied back to tie the set at 13 all, but Marymount pushed ahead once again following a 5-0 stretch, 19-14. VC later answered with three-straight kills from Matthew Knigge, pulling ahead 23-22, and eventually taking set one in extra points, 26-24. 

The Saints jumped ahead 4-0 to open the second game, including a service ace by junior Erich Bratke. MU maintained control of the tempo for much of the set, which forced VC to burn a timeout after trailing, 12-7. The Saints used a timeout of their own after the Brewers mounted a comeback and cut the deficit to three, 18-15. The Saints fell short after an impressive offensive performance by the Brewers, 25-22.

The momentum shifted in favor of the Saints mid-set of game three after MU scored five-straight points to tie it up at 14-14. Sophomore Remington Shahan led the run with two kills, while junior TJ Wiechecki added a kill and sophomore Eric Wiles notched a service ace. Both squads traded points through the rest of the set before Marymount closed it out on top, 26-24.

In a tight fourth-set matchup, the squads stayed neck-and-neck early on. A kill by Wiechecki gave the Saints some breathing room, 22-18, while unior Graham Clark finished the set in favor of the Saints, after connecting with freshman setter Joseph Zanelotti, 25-22, to once again send the match to a deciding set.  

Shahan put the ball down with force to open set five, but the Brewers quickly gained momentum after moving ahead 9-6, forcing the Saints to use a timeout. Clark interrupted the run with kill of his own to cut the deficit to three, 10-7. MU used another timeout after falling behind, 13-8, it wasn't enough to overcome the difference, falling 15-9.  

Wiechecki paced the Saints on the offensive end, tying for a game-high 20 kills. Shahan tied his career-high in kills, adding 11 and hitting .450. Zanelotti and Bratke split time in the setter position and posted 33 and 17 assists, respectively. On the defensive end, Wiechecki and junior Connor Choate tied for a game-high 11 digs. 

Prior to the match, the Saints recognized the program's first Senior Class, honoring Chris Lionette and Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz on their careers donning the blue and white. 

The men's squad will travel to Continental Volleyball Conference foe, Stevenson University on Wednesday, March 29. First serve is set for 7 p.m.