The Marist women’s volleyball team earned their second straight victory on Sunday afternoon against the Niagara Purple Eagles in four sets.
With that win, the Red Foxes are now third in the MAAC with a 6-3 conference record.
“We’re deep and I think the depth is really helping. Those kids just have to be ready to play,” coach Sean Bryon said when talking about how everyone stepped up against Niagara.
Niagara came up with a dominant performance when these teams last faced off on September 18th, earning a sweep on their home floor to open up MAAC play.
The match kicked off with a tight first set, as both teams traded punches in the early going. Neither side managed to pull away, as the largest lead for either squad was just four.
With the score standing at 24-23 in favor of Niagara, the Purple Eagles had an opportunity to serve for set point. Head coach Sean Bryon called a timeout to talk things over with his team, and the Red Foxes immediately responded.
Marist would then go on to win the next three points, taking the opening set 26-24. While Niagara held the advantage in kills 18-17, the Red Foxes had three service aces in the first.
In the second, the Red Foxes had a chance to take a 2-0 lead while serving for set point, but the Purple Eagles answered the call. With the score at 24-22 in favor of Marist, Niagara won the next four points to take the second set 26-24 and tied the match at one apiece.
The third set was more of the same, as the largest lead for either side was just three. Late in the third, Marist found themselves in the same situation they saw back in the opening set.
With the score at 24-23 in favor of the Purple Eagles, Niagara had a chance to take a crucial 2-1 lead in the match.
Once again, Marist won the next three points to take the set 26-24. The Red Foxes were dominant at the net in the third, holding a 21-14 advantage in kills.
Marist got off at a strong start to begin the fourth set, taking 11 of the first 17 points to earn an early advantage. Niagara continued to fight, eventually tying it at 24 apiece.
The two teams would split the next four points, making it 26-26. A forced attacking error followed by a kill from Gabriella Heimbauer finished things off for the Red Foxes, taking the fourth and final set 28-26.
Jordan Newblatt, who broke the school-record with 31 kills against Canisius last night, did the same against Niagara. The outside hitter from Clarkston, Michigan re-set her record, contributing an outstanding 34 kills on Sunday.
“That’s really exciting. I had no idea but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Newblatt said in response to breaking her own record on Sunday.
Outside hitter Gabriella Heimbauer had an excellent performance against the Purple Eagles as well. The sophomore from Massapequa, New York contributed 26.5 points along with 26 kills of her own.
Marist returns to play on October 16th at 1 p.m., when they face the Siena Saints at McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Red Foxes are 22-36 against Siena all-time, including a six-match win streak that stretched from 2017-2019.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Bridget Reilly