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No. 5 Men's Volleyball Squares Off With Scarlet Raiders In CVC Semifinals

No. 5 Men's Volleyball Squares Off With Scarlet Raiders In CVC Semifinals

UNION, N.J. – The No. 5 Marymount men's volleyball team enters the CVC Championship Weekend on Friday night as the No. 1 team in the West Division, taking on the East's No. 2 Rutgers-Newark at the overall top-seed Kean University. Start time is set for 8:30 p.m. 

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How We Got Here

Marymount posted the program's first 20-plus-win season this year, currently sitting at 21-6. In CVC play, the Saints went 11-2, earning them the top spot in the West Division and a first-round bye in the CVC Tournament. Of their 21 victories this season, 15 have been by three-set sweeps of their opponents. They enter the tournament on a six-match win streak. 

How They Got Here

The Scarlet Raiders enter the semifinals with a 19-8 overall record and 7-6 league tally. It was a bumpy stretch to conclude CVC play, dropping the final four matches to Kean, the Saints, Southern Virginia, and Ramapo. However, to closeout the regular season they topped No. 11 New York University in a five-set thriller on their home court to give momentum into the first round of the CVC Tournament where they matched up with the East's No. 3 Ramapo for vengeance on their regular-season lost. Needing four sets, Rutgers topped the Roadrunners on Tuesday to advance to Friday night's semifinals. 

Last Time We Met

The two teams squared off in the Verizon Sports Arena this season back on March 30, seeing the Saints cruise to a three-set sweep with set finals of 25-18, 25-14, 25-23.  As a team, MU put up a strong .482 kill percentage, including a .696 in set two. They totaled 51 kills led by sophomore Sam Safley with 16 on a .560. Junior Eric Wiles and senior TJ Wiechecki also added 11 and 10, respectively, while junior Remington Shahan put down eight on a .800 kill percentage. Senior Connor Choate dove out for a match-high 10 digs, and senior Erich Bratke sent out a match-high 42 assists. 

Series History

Dating back to 2015, the squads have met eight times and have an even split in the series at 4-4. The Saints are on a three-match win streak, not dropping a match since the 2016 season. That match was in the CVC Semifinals when the Scarlet Raiders, as the No. 2 seed, topped the third-seeded Saints, 3-0, at Stevenson University. It was the only time the two teams have met in the postseason. Since then, the Saints have gone 9-1 in set differential. 

Conference Recognition

On Thursday, the league announced the All-CVC teams, seeing three Saints make appearances. Safley and Wiechecki were named to first team, while Bratke was placed on second. It was the first time for Safley earning a postseason recognition, whereas Wiechecki and Bratke are quite familiar. Wiechecki has been named a four-time All-CVC honoree and the league's Player of the Year, and Bratke earned a spot in his junior season as well. The Scarlet Raiders placed one on the teams, as Corey Pieper was named to first team. 

What's Next?

The winner of Friday night's showdown will advance to Saturday's title match against the victor of the other semifinal match between overall top seed Kean and the West's No. 3 Eastern Mennonite University. The championship is set to begin at 3 p.m., at Kean.