Mackenzie Stephens Leads Volleyball to 3-1 Win Over Rider
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Mackenzie Stephens (Holland, Mich.) bested her previous career-high of 12 kills by the second set, finishing with a match-high 20 as the Marist volleyball team defeated Rider 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-22) Saturday evening in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) match at McCann Arena.
Stephens had only two attacking errors to finish with a .474 hitting percentage while also adding seven blocks. Marisa Gilbert (Pflugerville, Texas) was also in double digits with 13 kills while Katie Estes (Saugus, Calif.) also had nine. Becca Jones (Arlington, Va.) had a match-high 16 digs and Brooke Zywick (Garden City, Mich.) was second with 15 while also adding three service aces. Audra Brady (Allentown, Pa.) had a double-double with 43 assists and 13 digs and setting a personal best with six blocks.
Neither team could take control of the first set, with the scoring remaining tied at 11 before Rider scored three straight points to take a 14-11 lead. Out of a timeout however, Marist (7-12, 3-6 MAAC), playing shorthanded with only 10 available players, scored six consecutive points to take a 17-14 advantage. Stephens had three kills in the streak while Jones, Estes and Brady all added one of their own. However, with the Red Foxes leading 19-17, Rider (9-9, 3-6 MAAC) scored eight of the final nine points to take the opening set 25-20.
The Red Foxes came out quickly in the second set, taking an early 7-3 lead. Stephens had two more kills and combined with Brady for a block. Courtney Shaw (Centennial, Co.) had a kill as well and Estes added an ace. The Broncs fought back to the tie the score and eventually took a 19-16 lead. Marist gave them a taste of their own medicine however, scoring nine of the final 13 points to win the set 25-23. Estes had three kills in the final charge while Stephens and Gilbert each had two and Shaw had another of her own.
Rider took a 6-1 lead to open the third set. Following a Marist timeout, the Red Foxes rattled off eight of the next nine points to jump ahead 9-7. The run was fueled by two more kills from Stephens and one from both Brady and Estes as well as a service ace from Gena Russ (Rensselaer, N.Y.) and another block by Stephens and Brady. With the Red Foxes still holding a two-point lead at 17-15, they closed the set on an 8-4 run to provide the final margin of 25-19 and take a 2-1 lead in the match. Jones, Estes and Gilbert all had a kill and Shaw and Gilbert added a block.
The Broncs again jumped out early in the fourth set, taking an 11-7 lead and forcing a Marist timeout. Still training 13-9, kills by Shaw and Gilbert and two Rider errors brought the Red Foxes back into a tie at 14-14. A 4-1 run by the Broncs however put Marist back in a three-point hole at 19-15. Zywick kick-started 10-3 run from that point with two service aces. Brady also had an ace of her own while Gilbert had three more kills. Fittingly, Stephens finished off the match with her 20th kill
Marist is right back on the court Sunday afternoon with a home match versus Loyola (Md.) at 2 p.m. in McCann Arena.