NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – The Marist volleyball team cruised to its third straight win, rolling to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-15) road victory over Niagara in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) match on Sunday. The Red Foxes have won nine consecutive sets, sweeping all three matches in their winning streak.
Mackenzie Stephens (Holland, Mich.) led all players with 15 kills, registering five in each set, while not committing any attacking errors for a .714 hitting percentage. Kelsey Lahey (Bowling Green, Ohio) was also in double figures with 10 kills while Courtney Shaw (Centennial, Colo.) finished with nine. Audra Brady (Allentown, Pa.) had 40 assists while also adding six digs. Becca Jones (Arlington, Va.) led the Red Foxes with 11 digs while also adding a team-high three service aces. Lexi Millington (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) finished with nine digs and Brooke Zywick (Garden City, Mich.) added eight.
In the first set, a 4-1 Marist (9-5, 3-1 MAAC) run gave the Red Foxes some breathing room with a 10-6 advantage. Lahey led the charge with two kills to go alone with two Niagara (1-14, 0-4 MAAC) errors. Another streak, this time seeing Marist scoring five of eight points, expanded the lead to 15-9. Stephens had two kills to lead the way while Lahey added another and Jones had a service ace. Following a Niagara timeout, the Red Foxes continued to roll, scoring four consecutive points to bring the lead to double digits at 19-9. Brady had two kills in the streak and Hill added another. The Purple Eagles cut the lead to four with an 8-2 run of their own, but Lahey added two more kills while Stephens had one and Gilbert proved an ace to give Marist the 25-18 win. Stephens and Lahey each had five kills in the opening set to lead the offense while Jones had a team-high six digs defensively.
The Red Foxes jumped out to leads of 4-2 and 5-2 in the second set, thanks to two kills from Shaw and one apiece from Stephens and Lahey. Leading by four at 10-6, Marist embarked on a 5-0 run to extend its lead to 15-6. Gilbert had a kill and an ace while Lahey also added a kill and teamed with Stephens for a block. After a small 3-1 run by Niagara, the Red Foxes responded with a run of their own, scoring five of six points, to take a controlling 21-10 lead. Stephens led the charge with three kills while Jones added two more service aces. Back-to-back kills by Shaw ended the set, a 25-13 win for the visitors, and gave Marist a 2-0 match lead. Shaw tied Stephens for the team lead with five kills in the set.
A 5-0 run, on three more kills from Stephens and one from Lahey, gave the Red Foxes an early 6-1 lead in the third set. Niagara fought back with a 7-2 run to tie the score at eight, but Marist answered right back, scoring eight of nine points to take a commanding 16-9 lead. Grace Hill (Kalamazoo, Mich.) had two kills, Shaw had one of her own and Gena Russo (Rensselaer, N.Y.) had two service aces to lead the run. After the two teams traded points, the Red Foxes scored four consecutive points, on kills from Stephens and Lahey and an ace from Millington, to open up a 21-11 lead. Leading 23-15, a kill from Hill and Niagara error finished the set and the match.
Marist will continue its six-match road trip with a midweek match on Thursday at Siena. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Saints are currently undefeated in the MAAC with a 5-0 record while the Red Foxes are tied for second at 3-1.