Hempstead, N.Y. - The Marist volleyball team split two matches on Saturday to complete its season-opening weekend at the Hofstra Asics Invitational with a 2-1 record. The Red Foxes fell to tournament host Hofstra 3-0 (25-15, 29-27, 25-17) before bouncing back against Fairleigh Dickinson in straight sets (25-15, 25-18, 25-18). Senior captain Hanna Stoiberg (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was named to the All-Tournament team following the match.
Against Fairleigh Dickinson, the Red Foxes (2-1) jumped right out to a 4-1 lead in the first set on kills by Grace Hill (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Courtney Shaw (Centennial, Co.) as well as a service ace by Marisa Gilbert (Pflugerville, Texas). After the Knights pulled within two at 7-5 Marist responded with another run of 4-0. Stoiberg opened the streak with back-to-back kills and Brooke Zywick (Garden City, Mich.) followed with back-to-back service aces. The Red Foxes maintained the six-point lead until another 6-2 run opened their lead to double digits at 20-10. The teams traded points until a kill by Becca Jones (Arlington, Va.) provided the final margin of 25-15.
Fairleigh Dickinson jumped out to the early 3-1 lead in the second set. Three straight points by the Red Foxes however, two kills by Hill sandwiched around a service ace by Audra Brady (Allentown, Pa.), gave Marist a 4-3 lead. Following a point by the Knights, Marist rattled off six straight points, highlighted by two kills and a block assist by Mackenzie Stephens (Holland, Mich.). Fairleigh Dickinson fought back however and eventually tied the score at 16. The Red Foxes responded once again with an even bigger run of seven straight points to take control of the set at 23-16. Hill had two more kills and Stephens had three block assists in the streak. A kill by Katie Estes (Saugus, Calif.) eventually ended the set 25-18.
Marist again had to battle in the third set. Trailing 8-5, the Red Foxes used a 15-5 run to open a seven-point advantage at 20-13. Stoiberg had four kills in the streak while Hill and Gilbert each had three. Stephens added two kills as well as a block assist along with Stoiberg. Hill provided the final two points of the set for Red Foxes with kills.
Hill had 14 kills for the match with only three attacking errors for a .379 hitting percentage to go along with eight digs. Stoiberg had 12 kills and only two errors for a .556 hitting percentage to go along with 17 assists and five block assists. Gilbert had seven kills without a single hitting error and Stephens had six kills and seven block assists. Zywick had a team-high 14 digs and Gena Russo (Rensselaer, N.Y.) was second with nine digs. Brady led the Red Foxes with 23 assists.
Earlier in the day, Marist fell in straight sets to the tournament hosts. Hill again led the offense with nine kills while Stephens added seven to go along with three block assists. Stoiberg recorded three service aces and 12 assists while Brady had 14 helpers. Zywick was again the team leader with 12 digs and Gilbert had four block assists.
"We are excited to be off to successful start to the 2012 season," Marist Head Coach Tom Hanna said. "We played at enough of a high level to allow us to pick up a couple of wins. We also realize that we have some work in front of us to be a top team in the MAAC."
The Red Foxes will host the Volley in the Valley next weekend at McCann Arena when NJIT, Hartford and Fordham come to Poughkeepsie. On Saturday, Marist will play NJIT at 12:30 p.m. and Hartford at 6 p.m. They will then wrap up the tournament on Sunday with a 2 p.m. match versus Fordham.