POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Marist volleyball team used 17 team blocks, including 11 by Mackenzie Stephens (Holland, Mich.) to earn a split on Saturday with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-7, 25-15, 25-17) victory over Hartford in the Volley in the Valley Tournament at McCann Arena. Earlier in the day, the Red Foxes fell to NJIT 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21).
Against Hartford, Marist (3-2) had several players along with Stephens, whose 11 blocks were the second-highest individual total in Marist history, give standout performances. Hanna Stoiberg (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) had a double-double with 13 kills and 22 assists to go along with seven total blocks. Grace Hill (Kalamazoo, Mich.) also recorde a double double with 11 kills and 12 digs. Katie Estes (Saugus, Calif.) had five kills against zero attacking errors while adding six total blocks, including one of the solo variety. Audra Brady (Allentown, Pa.) had 18 assists and Brooke Zywick (Garden City, Mich.) finished with a team-high 15 digs.
After the Hawks took the first set, the Red Foxes responded with a big second set that included five team blocks with Stephens assisting on each one. Trailing 3-1 early in the set, Marist went on an 18-1 run to take control of the set and swing the match's momentum in their favor. Hill started the run with a kill and Stoiberg followed with back-to-back kills to claim the lead for good. After Brady recorded a service ace and a Hartford kill, the Red Foxes embarked on 14 straight points that included all five of the blocks. Stoiberg added two kills and Hill had two aces. Estes added two kills as Marist scored five of the final six points to take the set by a commanding 25-7 score.
The hot streak continued into the third set as the Red Foxes scored six of the first seven points and 13 of 17. Hill and Stephens started the set with back-to-back kills. After a Hartford point, Marist rattled off four straight points including another kill by Hill and an ace by Brady. With the score at 7-3, the Red Foxes used another 6-1 run to open up the score at 13-4. Stoiberg and Marisa Gilbert (Pfulgerville, Texas) started the run with a kill apiece before Stoiberg had back-to-back blocks, one with Estes and one with Gilbert. Stoiberg eventually finished the set with a service ace to provide the final margin of 25-15.
Down 2-1 early in the fourth set, the Red Foxes went on another huge run, scoring 11 out of 13 to take a 12-4 lead. Stephens had a kill and four more blocks in the streak. With the score at 13-7, another 12-3 run by Marist put the match out of hand. Gilbert had another two kills and combined with Estes for another block. Becca Jones (Arlington, Va.) also had a kill and added a block with Jemma Fadum (Elbert, Co.). Following a brief Hartford streak of seven straight points, Stephens ended the match with another kill.
Earlier in the day, Hill had a match-high 21 kills and added 11 digs, but it was not enough as Marist fell to the Highlanders of NJIT. Stoiberg finished one dig shy of a triple-double as she had 10 kills and 28 assists. Estest had nine kills while Zywick had a team-high 14 digs and Gena Russo (Rensselaer, N.Y.) also had 10 digs.
In the other matches in the tournament, Hartford defeated Fordham 3-2 and Fordham defeated NJIT 3-2. The tournament wraps up Sunday when Marist plays Fordham at 2 p.m. following the match between Hartford and NJIT which is set for 11 a.m.