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No. 14 Saints Split Doubleheader in Wisconsin, Fall at No. 9 Carthage

No. 14 Saints Split Doubleheader in Wisconsin, Fall at No. 9 Carthage

KENOSHA, Wis. - The 14th-ranked Marymount men's volleyball team split a pair of matches at Carthage College's Tarble Arena Friday night, sweeping Concordia (Wis.) in the opener 25-10, 26-24, 25-14 before falling to host and the ninth-ranked Red Man in the nightcap, 27-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-23.

The Saints (3-1) were the first opponent in the history of Concordia University who officially added men's volleyball as the school's 29th intercollegiate sport on Dec. 15, 2016.

After cruising through the first set, Marymount fell behind 7-4 in the second before rallying to take an 18-14 advantage. Nevertheless, the first-year Falcons responded with a 9-3 run to go back in front, 23-21.  putting themselves on the verge of their first set win in program history.

However, the Saints managed to sneak out the two-point victory, scoring five of the final six points, including four errors by Concordia (0-1).

Marymount jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set and never trailed the rest of the way, totaling a match-high 10 kills while hitting .316 en route to its third-straight win.

Sophomore Joseph Zanelotti led the Saints with a career-high six kills and had a .625 hitting percentage while senior Ben Steranka and freshman Evan Flesher each had five kills and two block assists. Freshman Tommy Garcia totaled 16 assists and senior Carson Caudell and freshman Jacob Martinez each had five digs.

Against Carthage, Marymount stole the first set on the road, but could not edge out a win in the third or fourth set as it dropped the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The Saints took a 5-1 lead in the first before the ninth-ranked Red Men (1-0) rallied to tie it at nine. From there, the set featured nine ties and four lead changes. Trailing 23-19, Carthage scored five of the next six points to tie it at 24. Tied at 25-all, Marymount took the opening set on a kill by junior Remington Shahan and a service ace by senior TJ Wiechecki.

Both teams combined for 29 kills and a .339 hitting percentage.

Errors plagued the Saints in the second set as they had just 10 kills while committing 10 attack errors. With the set tied at nine, the Red Men outscored Marymount 16-8 en route to the eight-point victory.

The Saints trailed by as many as nine in the third, 13-4, before coming all the way back within two, 23-21. They pulled within one, 24-23, on a service ace by Garcia, but a kill but Evan Walsh had one of his 11 kills to give Carthage the win.

Marymount rallied from an early deficit again in the fourth set, using an 8-2 run to take its first lead, 15-14, on a kill by Wiechecki. The Saints also led 23-22 before the Red Men scored the final three points on two kills by Zach Lillig and a Marymount error that ended the match.

Wiechecki totaled 23 kills, his ninth career match with at least 20, while adding six digs and three blocks assists. Sophomore Sam Safley had 10 kills, his second with at least 10 this season after he had just four in 22 matches a year ago.

Zanelotti added six kills, a match-high 12 digs, four assists and three service aces while senior Connor Choate also had 12 digs. Senior Erich Bratke totaled 39 assists and nine digs.

The Saints travel to Lisle, Illinois on Saturday to take on Benedictine at Dan and Ada Rice Center beginnng at 2:00 p.m., Eastern. The Eagles opened the season with a 25-15, 25-18, 25-18 victory over Augustana Friday night.