WATERTOWN, WI – The volleyball team, now winners of their last seven games, defeated the Marian University Sabres on Tuesday evening by scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 25-20 to improve to 21-8 overall.
Maranatha was able to take advantage of 24 Marian errors while committing just seven, but the night belonged to the defense, which proved to be the catalyst behind 17 blocks, six coming from senior middle blocker Lauren Schulz (Lake Mills, WI).
The Crusaders opened set one with leads of 5-2 and 9-4, but the Sabres crept their way back into the game, cutting the deficit to 10-9. Maranatha responded with a commanding 10-3 run, withstood a late Marian push and ended the set on a kill by senior middle blocker Laci Peterson (Chillicothe, IL).
A set two win did not come as easy for Maranatha, who fell behind 7-2 before rallying to tie it up at 10 apiece and the teams found themselves deadlocked at 13 and 15 before Marian eked out a 17-15 lead, forcing a Maranatha timeout.
Maranatha responded strong out of the break, with back to back kills, and even held a one-point lead, but once again, a pesky Marian squad tied it at 19 and 20 before three straight Maranatha points forced Marian to call a timeout. The timeout was not enough to overcome Maranatha’s attack, as Maranatha ended on a kill by sophomore hitter Stacy Reinke (Clintonville, WI).
Maranatha took control in the opening of set three with a 7-4 lead, and held a 12-7 advantage at a Marian timeout. Maranatha’s defense, as well as timely hitting, kept Marian at bay for most of the set until the Sabres, who used a 12-8 run, were down 20-19. Maranatha, however, took control in the closing minutes with a 5-1 run that ended with a Marian attacking error.
Peterson finished the evening with 13 kills, 14 digs and three blocks (two solo) while Reinke chipped in nine kills with an impressive .450 attack percentage. Setters Emily Thompson (Watertown, WI) and Pam Borchardt (Watertown, WI) notched 14 and 17 assists, respectively. On defense, sophomore libero Sam Swiatek (Walled Lake, MI) amassed 22 digs.
The Crusaders now turn their attention to the NCCAAII Midwest Regional Tournament, hosted by Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago, IL. The tournament begins on Friday, November 1, with a 12:30 p.m. matchup between the #3 and #6 seeds.