Marist’s Season Comes to an End Following Quarterfinal Loss to Quinnipiac

The Marist women’s volleyball team was eliminated from the 2021 MAAC Volleyball Championship following a five-set loss to the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Friday. The defeat in the quarterfinals means that the Red Foxes will finish the season with an overall record of 17-14.

“It obviously wasn’t the way we wanted the season to end, but I am so proud of what we accomplished this year,” head coach Sean Bryon said in the aftermath of the loss.

Both teams began the match with a back-and-forth opening set. Outside hitter Sasha van der Merwe got off to an excellent start. The 6-foot-1 sophomore put the Bobcats on the back foot, scoring four out of the first nine points for the Red Foxes. Neither team managed to pull away in the early stretches of the opening set, as Marist held a 15-14 lead at the media timeout. 

With the score tied at 16 apiece, outside hitter Jordan Newblatt recorded back-to-back kills, forcing Quinnipiac head coach Kyle Robinson to take a timeout. The Bobcats fought back with a run of their own, tying it at 20. Quinnipiac took five of the last six points, winning the first set 25-21. 

After dropping the opening set, Marist began the second with plenty of energy. The Red Foxes won seven of the first 10 points, getting out to a quick four-point lead. 

With the score standing at 13-12 in favor of Marist, Quinnipiac was awarded a point following an attacking error from Newblatt. Coach Sean Bryon called for a challenge, sending the referees to the monitor for the second time in the match. Following a review, it was deemed that a player for the Bobcats had a touch prior to the ball striking the ground, leading to a two-point advantage for the Red Foxes. 

Minutes later, Marist found themselves back in the match after it seemed like the Bobcats were on their way to a 2-0 set advantage. With Quinnipiac leading 21-19, Marist went on a 6-2 run to finish the second. Consecutive kills from Newblatt and van der Merwe gave the set to the Red Foxes 25-23. Marist was far more dominant when attacking the net in the second, holding a 21-15 advantage in kills. 

The start to the third was much of what we saw in the first two sets. Neither team showed the ability to pull away, as the largest lead through the first 16 points was just two. Later on, Marist came up with a crucial 4-0 run in the middle of the set, tying things up at 14. The Bobcats proceeded to take four of the next five points, forcing coach Bryon to take a timeout. 

Marist tried to make a late run, but Quinnipiac remained in control. A service error from the Bobcats, followed by an ace from Jillian Hanna, cut the deficit to just three. But a powerful kill from Nicole Legg gave the third set to Quinnipiac 25-21.

The beginning of the fourth was more of the same, as the score was tied at 10 through the first 20 points. Marist continued to fight through their struggles at the net, finding themselves down late in the set.

With the team trailing by a score of 18-16, Marist came up with a run when they needed it most. Three kills by Newblatt, followed by a block from Vanessa Zolg, gave the Red Foxes a two-point advantage. Quinnipiac continued to make things difficult for Marist, taking five of the next eight points to tie the set at 23. A kill from Gabriella Heimbauer followed by an attacking error from Legg gave the fourth set to the Red Foxes 25-23.

Quinnipiac came out on the frontfoot to begin the fifth, taking nine of the first 15 points to earn a four-point lead. Coach Bryon called two separate timeouts so the team could collect themselves, but the Bobcats continued to control the tempo. Quinnipiac went on a 6-5 run, taking the fifth and final set 15-10.

Most of the struggles for Marist came in the department of attacking errors. The Red Foxes held a 30-16 advantage in that category, really showing where it all went wrong against Quinnipiac. Marist had opportunities to put the Bobcats away on more than a few occasions, but were unable to do so.  

Newblatt was the standout performer for the Red Foxes on Friday night. The sophomore from Clarkston, Michigan had a team-high 24 kills while also contributing 15 digs. Senior setter McKinley Fox was extremely productive as well, having a team-high 54 assists against the Bobcats.

Edited by Connor Kurpat

Image from Marist Athletics

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