OWINGS MILLS, Md. - The Stevenson men's volleyball team hit just .193 as the Mustangs could not overcome a hot hitting and ninth-ranked Marymount (Va.) Wednesday evening at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
The Mustangs (16-9, 7-3 CVC) fell 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 20-25 as the team dropped their second straight home match contest after a 19 home game winning streak dating back to the 2015 season.
The hosts recorded three of the first four points to give Stevenson a slight cushion in the opening set as the team would run its lead to six points. The Mustangs used a 6-2 run, capped by a service ace by senior Kyle Johnson, to extend their lead to 12-6 and force a timeout by Marymount.
A 4-0 run by the Saints (), the first string of back-to-back points by the visitors in the match, cut the deficit to 14-12, which forced the first timeout by the Mustangs. A kill by sophomore Jason Gardner out of the timeout halted the run.
But Marymount scored the next four points to tie the game at 15-15, just the second tie of the set since the opening two points. After two more ties, the Saints took their first lead of the set after a service ace by Joseph Zanelotti hit the tape and rolled over.
A kill by senior Michael Fehrs brought Stevenson's deficit to 22-21, but Marymount ended the set with three straight kills, including the seventh of the set by three-time and reigning CVC Player of the Week, TJ Wiechecki.
After errors on the opening four points of the second set, sophomore Landon Shorts put his third kill down before back-to-back block assists by Fehrs and senior Nate Ellis to start a 6-2 run for the Mustangs.
Trailing 10-6, the Saints scored five consecutive points, including three kills by Wiechecki as Marymount went on a 10-3 run to take a 16-13 lead and force a Stevenson timeout. The Saints continued the run out of the timeout and led by as many as six, including 22-16.
A solo block by freshman Nathan Bosse followed by a kill by Ellis got the hosts back within four at 22-18 but back-to-back attack errors gave Marymount six set points.
The Mustangs hit -.074 in the second set after committing eight errors compared to just six kills while the Saints put down 13 kills compared to just five errors.
For the third straight set, Stevenson opened with a lead as the hosts went up 8-2 on six errors by the Saints. Both Gardner and Short recorded solo blocks and a block assist by both Gardner and Ellis. Shorts also recorded his first service ace of the match.
Shorts finished with two service aces in the match and now has 56 service aces this season and is just two shy of tying the single season record of 58 he set a season ago.
Out of a Marymount timeout, the Saints scored four consecutive points and slowly cut away at Stevenson's lead, eventually taking a 17-16 lead and forcing a Mustang timeout after a 5-1 run by the visitors.
The Mustangs scored four of the next five points, getting two kills from junior Alex Klunk as well as two errors from Marymount to take a 20-18 lead. But the Saints answered with back-to-back points for the fourth tie of the set.
A kill by senior Nicholas Gross gave the hosts two set points and the Mustangs closed it out with a service error by the Saints to force a fourth set. Stevenson hit .310 in the set on 11 kills and just two errors while the visitors hit .176 after totaling seven errors.
After falling behind 6-4 early in the fourth set, the Mustangs took a 7-6 lead on back-to-back kills by Gross. The Saints however answered with an 8-3 run to build a 14-10 advantage. Stevenson would get as close as 23-20 late in the set but Marymount hit .476 in the set.
Ellis finished with a team-high 11 kills while Gardner added 10. Ellis also totaled six total blocks while Gardner had six digs and four total blocks. Senior Kyle Johnson recorded 37 assists and five digs.
Stevenson returns to action on Friday, March 30 when the Mustangs host a Continental Volleyball Conference contest versus Juniata beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Head coach Aldis Berzins talks about the team's game with Marymount (VA) this evening.