ARLINGTON, Va. - A valient effort by the No. 5 Marymount men's volleyball team came up just short on Saturday afternoon in the Verizon Sports Arena, forcing a deciding set after trailing 2-0 to Juniata College before falling in five, 16-25, 15-25, 25-22, 25-18, 9-15.
A slow start for Marymount found itself trailing by two sets quickly in the match, but that didn't mean the end for the nationally-ranked Saints. With perseverance, MU came firing back in the third set with 12 kills on a .280 hitting percentage to salvage another set against the reigning CVC champions, 25-22. Gaining momentum, the Saints pieced together their best set of the day in the fourth, firing off 20 kills on 32 attempts with just two attack errors for a .562 to force a deciding set, 25-18.
In the fifth set, Juniata took the opening two points off back-to-back kills by Joe Fick before freshman Evan Flesher slammed down a kill of his own. However, back-to-back attack errors and a ball-handling error put MU in a 5-1 hole that drew its first timeout. The Saints came out of the quick break to inch back into the set, but the Eagles reached the eighth point first at 8-5 to send the teams to opposite ends. Juniata grabbed the first two points after the switch and eventually took the final set, 15-9.
The Saints move to 15-6 overall and 6-2 in the Continental Volleyball Conference. With two losses in the league, MU sits just behind Eastern Mennonite University in the West division only on the fact that the Royals have played two extra matches to tally an 8-2 record. The two squads will meet for the second time this year on Friday, March 23 in Arlington at 7 p.m. The Saints won the first meeting back on February 17 in Harrisonburg, 3-1.
Leading the way for Marymount was a career- and match-high 18 kills by junior James Knight, just the second time in his three years he's reached double-figure kills. Junior Eric Wiles added 14 kills, while Flesher knocked down a career-high eight kills on a .357 hitting percentage to go along with a career- and match-high four block assists.
Fresh off a season-high 37 assists on Friday night, sophomore Joseph Zanelotti came back with a match-high 46 helpers against the Eagles.
The Saints hit the road one final time in the regular season for their make-up match against Ramapo on Wednesday, March 21. The match will be played at Cairn University starting at 5 p.m.