On an exuberant and spooky Sunday afternoon, the Marist Volleyball team celebrated Halloween during their match against Saint Peter’s at McCann Arena.
This event was conducted through the likes of coach Sean Byron. It was the second promotion in two days, as the team provided free autographs and posters on Saturday after their loss to Rider.
Among the usual Marist students and parents, fans came to the game wearing the silliest and most charismatic costumes they could think of, all of which had the motivation of winning a costume contest that would earn them a $25 gift certificate from Lola’s Cafe.
To help bring in more fans, the volleyball team partnered up with the school’s “Best Buddies” club, an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Defensive specialist Morgan Owens and outside hitter Ashley Cruise were able to help with this connection, as they are both part of the club themselves and the organization were given a standing ovation in the middle of the third set.
As for the costume contest, six finalists were chosen from their seats following the first set. Among these individuals included a Scooby-Doo outfit, a referee with an axe over his head, a bee, and a student with an 80’s wig.
After the conclusion of the next set, each of the finalists went onto the court as the voting came down to the crowd from whoever was cheered the loudest. With everyone being treated with loud claps and screams, it was the bee who reigned victorious and earned the marquee prize. Despite only one person winning the gift card, each of the finalists were still awarded with a Marist T-Shirt for their valiant effort.
“I thought it went well,” said Byron. “We’re trying a whole bunch of things to bring students out. Anything to bring the atmosphere into McCann.”
Middle blocker Gabby Murray enjoyed the action as well. “I thought it was so fun, I loved all the costumes, everyone did a good job of coming out and going hard.”
Regarding the game, the Red Foxes won by a score of 3-1, increasing their MAAC record to 8-4. The first set was rather disappointing, as Marist would blow a big lead. After being up 17-10, the Red Foxes allowed St. Peter’s to score nine straight points in what was a 13-2 run. Marist would be unable to hold on, as they lost 25-23.
In spite of this though, the Red Foxes showed resiliency and were able to come out of the match on top. After a back-and-forth second set, in which they won 25-23, Marist looked a lot stronger in the third. After a 6-6 score, the team went on a 15-4 run sparked on nine kills and two service aces. The team was very efficient with their attacks, having a .412 hitting percentage compared to St. Peter’s .156. Marist took the lead, winning 25-15 in the third set.
The fourth set was much of the same, as Marist was the more aggressive team. After being within five attack attempts of each other, the Red Foxes created a whopping 41 opportunities compared to St. Peter’s 27. This ultimately resulted in them having 17 kills, six of which from outside hitter Nikki DeSerpa. Marist completed the comeback by a score of 25-16.
“I thought we just made some adjustments,” said Byron. “They dig a lot of balls and try to frustrate you, so we just said ‘hey, if you get in trouble just give them the ball, let them dig it, and don’t get frustrated.’” The Red Foxes were able to overcome St. Peter’s strength totaling 85 of their own digs compared to the Peahens 79 digs.
The player of the game was Murray. The freshman continues her strong rookie season, as she set a season-high in kills with 16 and points with 20.5. She currently stands in third in those respective stats for her team this season. “I thought it was such a fun game,” she said. “Our defense played so well, hitting the ball up, so we had all three options. Our setters did a really good job in reading the blocks, so they would know who to set and have an open net.”
The Red Foxes will continue their season on Friday, November 1st, where they will square off against Siena University in Loudonville, New York.
Edited by Alex Azarm