LEXINGTON, Va. – The Marymount University men's volleyball team defeated Rutgers University-Newark, 3-1, in a first-round Continental Volleyball Conference tournament game on Thursday night.
The teams split the first-two sets, as the fourth-seeded Saints took the opening frame, 25-22.
Four points would mark the largest lead of the opening set, as the fifth-seeded Scarlet Raiders fought back to take a 15-14 lead, but a Safley service ace quickly regained the lead for Marymount, 16-15.
Two kills from senior James Knight bumped the advantage to 21-18, and Safley would put down two more to help take the 1-0 lead.
Senior Eric Wiles got things going with a service ace to start the second, and Safley tallied a kill to cap a 4-1 opening run for the Saints.
Marymount held the lead to 11-9, but Rutgers-Newark came back with a 5-1 spurt to take a 14-12 edge. An ace from Knight tied the frame, 15-15, but the Scarlet Raiders were able to tie the match, 1-1, returning the favor with a 25-22 win.
Shahan and Safley each notched kills to get the Saints back on track in the third, leading an opening, 8-3, stretch. Shahan and Knight also tallied a block in the run.
The Scarlet Raiders responded with their own, 8-3, run to tie the set, 11-11, but Shahan added another kill as the Saints regained the lead for good.
In another close finish, the Saints held on for the 25-21 victory, as Knight led a balanced attack with two kills.
Three kills from Wiles and two from Safley helped Marymount take quick control in the final set, 14-6.
The Saints did not look back, as the Scarlet Raiders would only get as close as four points the rest of the way. Wiles notched his fourth kill of the frame to cap the win, 25-18.
Safley finished the match with 13 kills to lead the team, while Knight added nine. Safley also led with three service aces, and Shahan notched three total blocks.
Junior Joseph Zanelotti kept the offense flowing with 30 assists.
The Saints now look forward to a CVC semifinal matchup on Friday, April 12 against No. 1-seed Southern Virginia University at Rockbridge County High School; the match is set for 4 p.m.