Quinnipiac Volleyball Gets Revenge, Takes Down Marist in Four Sets

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Quinnipiac Volleyball Gets Revenge, Takes Down Marist in Four Sets

Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

Steve Zocco

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Maggie Baker reeled off three successive kills, then drilled an ace on match point to deliver the knockout punch in Quinnipiac volleyball’s 3-1 victory over Marist at home on Wednesday.  The Bobcats (6-9, 2-4 MAAC) avenged their earlier season loss in Poughkeepsie and earned their first win over the Red Foxes (6-10, 4-2 MAAC) since 2016.

The Bobcats dropped the opening set but rallied to win the next three and shock the Red Foxes, who came into the match tied for second in the conference standings.

Coming off a grueling five-set loss to Manhattan on Sunday, Quinnipiac built a quick 5-3 lead in the opening set before allowing Marist to take control with a run of six straight points and 13 of the next twenty.  The deficit would prove insurmountable, but the Bobcats found their rhythm late and continued to jive through the rest of the match.

After struggling in tight situations against the Jaspers, Quinnipiac showed more poise this time out.  Each of the final three sets came down to a win-by-two scenario and each time the Bobcats staved off the pesky Red Foxes, earning the decisive points.

The second set was a nail biter, with 14 ties and 9 lead changes.  At 18-18, Baker & Kaleigh Oates hammered three straight kills.  The Red Foxes called both of their timeouts on consecutive points, stopping momentum and ultimately retying the set at 21.  The teams traded points to reach 24-24 before Morgan Sherwin drilled a huge kill. A bad set from Marist’s Hallie Carter would tie the match at 1-1.

An 8-0 run early in the third set gave the Bobcats some breathing room, but four consecutive errors kept the Red Foxes in the hunt.  With Quinnipiac ahead 23-19, Marist pulled out all the stops to even the score, including a pair of blocks from the duo of Megan Fergus and Stephanie Stone.  Fergus would then go for the kill, but two brilliant cross-court dives by Alejandra Rodriguez, who polished the entire floor while notching 27 digs, kept the rally alive, leading to a Baker smash.  Aryanah Diaz added a kill of her own to clinch the set.

Up 2-1, the fourth and final set would be the Bobcats strongest.  Back-to-back aces from Nicole Migliozzi, sandwiched between two Baker kills, set the tone.  An overturned Sherwin kill made things interesting, but Baker quickly shut the door, giving the Bobcats a much-needed win.  Baker tallied a double-double 19 kills and 12 digs.

Georgia Tselepi, the sophomore transfer from Cincinnati, had a breakout performance, appearing in all four sets and earning a career-high 9 kills.

Overall the team appeared more confident and relaxed, which Oates attributed to a team meeting that the players held after Sunday’s loss.

“I think we are a little more focused on having fun now,” the senior said. “We’re just so blessed to get up every morning and play this game and every match might be our last one. Realizing that was a big turning point for us.”

Oates finished 9 of 15 on the attack and committed no errors.

Head Coach Kyle Robinson was proud of his team but noted that this is just a stepping stone on the season’s long winding path.

“They’re a good team,” he said of Marist. “We appreciate the win, but we don’t take it for granted so we’ll be back in the gym tomorrow.”

The Bobcats have now won two of their last three matches and will to build upon that as they hit the road for a weekend twin-billing in New Jersey.  They’ll face Rider in Lawrenceville on Saturday and Saint Peter’s in Jersey City on Sunday, both with first serve at 1 p.m.