WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Marist volleyball team took the opening set, but fell in a tough 3-1 (20-25, 25-15, 27-25, 25-23) loss at Army on Wednesday night. It was the first time since 2009 that the Red Foxes won a set against the Black Knights
Grace Hill (Kalamazoo, Mich.) led the Marist offense with 11 kills, to go along with one of the Red Foxes’ four solo blocks. Mackenzie Stephens (Holland, Mich.) had nine kills while Courtney Shaw (Centennial, Co.) and Marisa Gilbert (Pflugerville, Texas) each contributed eight kills and four total blocks and Shaw also added seven digs. Audra Brady (Allentown, Pa.) 37 assists to go along with nine digs, two kills and two service aces. Brooke Zywick (Garden City, Mich.) led the Marist defense with 27 digs, while also adding four assists.
The Red Foxes (1-3) jumped out to a 6-2 lead on a kill by Stephens, a service ace by Jones and four Army errors. The lead expanded to five at 10-5 on single kills by Hill, Gilbert and Becca Jones (Arlington, Va.). Marist continued to apply the pressure and doubled its lead to 10 at 22-12 on aces by Jones and Brady and two kills from Shaw and one each from Brady, Jones and Hill. Army made a run, scoring six of seven points to close within 23-18, but a loud Stephens’ kill put an end to Army’s late charge and won the set for the Red Foxes, 25-20. Gilbert led the offense in the first set with three kills while, Hill, Jones, Shaw and Stephens each added two. Brady had 10 assists and Zywick led the defense with five digs.
The second set was back-and-forth early until a 6-0 Army run gave the hosts a 14-7 lead, forcing a Marist timeout. The Black Knights continued its streak, overall scoring 10 of 13 points to take a commanding 18-10 lead. The Red Foxes did put together a streak of four consecutive points to close within five at 20-15, but Army scored the final five points to win the set 25-15. Stephens and Hill each had two kills to lead the way, while Zywick and Gena Russo (Rensselaer, N.Y.) both recorded four digs.
The third set was one for the dramatics as each team put together small runs in another back-and-forth set. Marist trailed 21-17 late in the third set, but fought back to knot the score at 22 on a Zywick ace. On the following sequence, Gilbert buried a kill to give the Red Foxes a 23-22 lead. After Army scored two straight points to bring it to set point, Marist responded two points of its own, on an Army service error and a Brady ace to force a set point of its own at 25-24. Army, however, scored the final three points to win an exciting set 27-25. Kelsey Lahey (Bowling Green, Ohio) had four kills in the third set to lead the Red Foxes. Hill added three of her own. Marist had four team blocks in the set.
The fourth set provided just as much excitement as the third, as it came down to the very end. With the score tied at seven, Gilbert and Shaw hit back-to-back kills and then teamed up for a block to give the Red Foxes a 10-7 lead. Marist was able to maintain its lead, on two kills apiece from Shaw and Hill, a kill by Gilbert and a solo block from Shaw. However, Army fought back to tie the score at 19. Stephens traded two kills with Army points to keep the set tied at 21, but the Black Knights scored the next two points to take a 23-21 lead and force a Marist timeout. Out of the break, Gilbert and Hill each smashed a kill to tie things back up and force an Army timeout. The Black Knights scored the final two points to take the set and the match.
Marist will play its first home matches of the season this weekend when its hosts the Volley in the Valley Tournament at McCann Arena. The Red Foxes will play Dartmouth at 7 p.m. on Friday before taking on Hartford at 12:30 p.m. and UMass Lowell at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free to the public.
Notes –With her 37 assists, Brady now stands at 1,952 career assists, as she seeks to become just the sixth player in Marist history to reach 2,000 assists in her career.