MILWAUKEE – The Alverno volleyball team got back to action at home on Tuesday evening, hosting the Marian Sabres in a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference matchup inside Reiman Gymnasium. After dropping the first two sets, the Inferno edged Marian in the third by a 26-24 score before dropping a close fourth set to the Sabres.
Alverno had a strong offensive game all around with freshman Catie Flannery leading the way with a team-best 11 kills while also adding an ace and two assists. Senior Cailey Jeske also reached double-figures in kills with 10 as she led the team with a team-best .273 hitting percentage.
Alverno also got eight kills from sophomore Arianna Rehberg, registered two aces along the way as well. Freshman Alex McMath had four kills on the night to go along with a team-high 13 assists and also added a team-high four aces on the night.
Sophomore Atiya Mansfield also had a strong day in assists as she was tied with McMath for the team-high. Sophomore Neilee Newton had five kills and one assist, while junior Sam Korn had two assists and helped the defensive effort with six digs.
Leading the way with a team-best 15 digs was sophomore Morgan Lemner with 15 digs on the night, while Flannery was second on the team 12 digs, while McMath added nine. Rehberg led the team with a hand in all three of Alverno's blocks, splitting two with Newton and the third with Flannery. Freshman Rachel Manselle also played in two sets and tallied four digs along the way.
Alverno kept close with the Sabres in the early stages of the opening set as the score was tied at 12 followed by a kill from Newton. However, an 11-1 run for Marian in the ensuing rallies put the set to 23-13 in favor of the Sabres. Alverno got the next two points including a kill from McMath, but it was not enough as Marian closed out the set 25-15.
In the second it was again a close battle as the teams evenly split the first 12 points at 6-6. Marian surged to a 10-6 lead but Alverno chipped back behind back-to-back kills from Jeske to make the score 11-9. A 6-1 run by Marian gave the Sabres some breathing room before Marian was able to emerge with a 25-18 win.
The third set of the match proved to be another evenly contest bout between the Inferno and the Sabres as the sides were even at six following a point from Marian. The Sabres pulled ahead by an 11-7 score before Flannery collected a kill and got momentum back in favor of the Inferno. Another kill by Flannery and several Marian miscues kept Alverno in the set as a kill by Newton put the Inferno up by a 16-13 score.
As the set continued Marian was able to tie the score at 17, 19 and 21 as Alverno was only able to pull ahead by two points apiece. The Sabres regained the 24-23 lead but a service error by Marian gave possession and an even score back to Alverno. Flannery put down a kill off a feed from McMath to give Alverno set point, before an attacking error by Marian gave the Inferno the set victory to pull Alverno within one set at 2-1.
Once again the sides were evenly contested through the first 18 points with the rallies split at 9-9. A ball-handling error on Marian helped Alverno even the score at 10 and sparked a four-point run as the Inferno took a 13-10 advantage behind a pair of kills from Newton and an ace from McMath. The score remained close and was tied at 21 before Marian registered three kills and late in the set to take the match three sets to one.
Alverno (2-18, 0-6 NACC) will return home on Friday as the Inferno host the Aurora Spartans for a rare 5 p.m. start inside Reiman Gymnasium as part of homecoming weekend at Alverno College.