The third-seeded Marist Red Foxes are set to begin their run at the 2021 MAAC Volleyball Championship against the six-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats on Friday, Nov. 19 at the UHY Center in Loudonville, New York. Start time for the match is 8 p.m. ET, and it will be streamed on ESPN+.
Both teams are coming into this match following defeats to conclude the regular season. Marist lost in five sets at Siena on Nov. 13. The following afternoon, Quinnipiac lost their match at Iona in five sets as well.
The first matchup between these two this season came on Sept. 29. Marist won the opening set before Quinnipiac answered with a victory in the second. With the match tied up at one set apiece, the Red Foxes took control. Marist took the third and fourth set to finish off a very dominant performance at home, winning 25-18, 16-25, 25-16, 25-15.
On Nov. 6th, Marist got their second win of the season over Quinnipiac. The Red Foxes took the first two sets before the Bobcats fought back with victories in the third and fourth. In the fifth and final set, Marist dug deep to get a crucial victory on the road in conference play, winning 26-24, 25-21, 17-25, 22-25, 15-10.
Jordan Newblatt is the notable player for the Red Foxes coming into this match. The outside hitter from Clarkston, Michigan averaged a team-high 3.71 kills per set, which ranked third in the conference. Newblatt had a season-high 34 kills against Niagara on Oct. 10, which reset the school record.
One thing to watch out for is the team’s ability to find balance with attacks at the net. Newblatt is just one of a few players for Marist who can dominate the game with kills. Sophomore outside hitter Gabriella Heimbauer, sophomore outside hitter Sasha van der Merwe, and senior outside hitter Madelyn Waumans are all averaging more than 2.5 kills per set on the season. The Red Foxes were 9-4 in MAAC play when at least two players had double digits kills.
Morgan Owens will also play a critical role for the Red Foxes against Quinnipiac. The senior defensive specialist averaged a team-high 4.24 digs per set, which ranked fifth in the conference. Owens has shown the ability to extend plays throughout the entire season. If Marist is going to make a deep run in the MAAC Championship, the team will need their veterans to step up in the biggest moments.
The Bobcats have a few players to keep an eye on. Nicole Legg, a six-foot-three middle blocker, led the MAAC with a .400 hitting percentage. The senior from Union, Kentucky contributed in a multitude of areas, averaging 3.16 points per set and 2.27 kills per set. Maggie Baker will be another key player for Quinnipiac in this match. The five-foot-11 outside hitter averaged a team-high 2.73 kills per set.
Should Marist win, they will play the winner of the Rider-Iona quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. ET.
Edited by Bridget Reilly & Connor Kurpat
Photo from Marist Athletics