For the second time in two weeks, Marist volleyball defeated Rider, this time by a score of 3-1.
After taking care of Rider 3-0 at home on September 20th, the Red Foxes traveled to Lawrenceville, N.J., where they took down the Broncs once more.
In an impressive offensive display that saw Marist swing for a .312 hitting percentage, five Red Foxes would record five or more kills. Numerically, Marist was led by senior outside hitter Sasha van der Merwe who killed 19 balls in a four set match. However, redshirt junior Gabriella Heimbauer had 17, with 10 coming in the second and third sets, the most important of the match.
The hitters would not have been able to do it without junior setter Claire Lewis, who totaled 50 assists. When Marist struggled in serve receive, Lewis did a proficient job getting to errant passes and still delivering good sets.
It was a slow start in the first set for Marist, who at one point fell behind 11-5. They would fight back, but it was not enough. Despite tying the game multiple times, they could never take the lead. The Red Foxes were initially held back by struggles at the service line, missing four serves, while Rider served tough on the other side of the court. The Broncs also held Marist to a .194 hitting percentage in the set, limiting the Red Foxes offensive attack.
A strong service run from freshman libero CC Potter-Pessoa kept Marist in the game, but Rider reached set point first, at the score of 24-21. The Broncs would win the set, not before a small Marist rally that took some momentum into the second set.
After a back and forth start, Marist pulled away numerous times before Rider would reel them back in. Just like the first set, set point came at 24-21, this time with Marist out front. The Broncs pulled within one before Marist ended it, 25-23.
Heimbauer played great for Marist in a must win set, recording five kills, most of which ended long rallies. The Red Foxes benefited from five Rider missed serves, accounting for a fifth of Marist’s points in their crucial second set victory.
Unlike Marist did, Rider was not able to translate their strong finish into a strong start in the following set. Marist took an early 10-3 lead, highlighted by a solo block from White.
Rider would not go down easy, coming all the way back to tie the game a few times. On two serves with the score tied, Rider missed, giving Marist free points in big spots. The Red Foxes took advantage of these mistakes, winning the set by a commanding score of 25-19.
Once again, Heimbauer led the way for Marist with another five kills. Heimbauer was clutch in another must win set, helping give Marist a 2-1 lead.
The Red Foxes would then win a back and forth fourth set, 25-22. Marist leaned on van der Merwe, who recorded eight kills in the fourth set alone. Rider had no answer for the Marist hitters; Newblatt had five kills, Heimbauer with four, and White scored three.
Today’s victory wrapped up Marist’s first road trip of conference play. The Red Foxes entered play today coming off a 3-0 victory over St. Peters. Yesterday, Marist was also led by van der Merwe with 15 kills, but the Red Foxes received contributions from newer faces.
St. Peters held a 0-4 MAAC record before Saturday’s contest, allowing Marist head coach Sean Byron to give some meaningful playing time to some players who had not seen too much action in conference play.
Sophomore right side hitter Morgan Munro and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Sally Tietjen both had their best performance as Red Foxes on Saturday. Munro swung for 13 kills on an eye opening .571 hitting percentage. Tietjen had eight, on an also impressive .353 hitting percentage, in addition to two aces. Freshman setter Kaitlyn Owens also made the most of her limited playing time, recording eight assists.
Marist’s offense also received steady contributions from two of its regulars, Newblatt and Lewis. Newblatt converted on 11 swings, and aced the Peacocks twice, while Lewis assisted on 32 of Marist’s kills. Thompson got the start at Libero and had four assists, also tallying eight digs on defense.
As for the match, all three sets followed a similar script. St. Peters pulled ahead midway through in all three sets by two or more points, before Marist would flip a switch and take over. The Peacocks tested the Red Foxes ability to play from behind, and Marist answered the challenge, coming back in all three sets.
The Red Foxes will be back at McCann Arena for their next match, this upcoming Friday against Iona at 6 p.m.