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Friday, September 4th, 2009
By Randy Bruns
Marion dominates in MAC opener
MARIA STEIN - The Marion Local Flyers put on a dominating display Thursday in their Midwest Athletic Conference volleyball opener by throttling the New Bremen Cardinals in three quick games, 25-9, 25-9 and 25-11.
The Flyers, who scuffled a bit in Tuesday's win over Lehman, put those issues behind them against the Cardinals, as a dominating net game and smothering defense were the keys to the blowout win.
Marion improves to 3-0 on the year and 1-0 in the MAC while New Bremen falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
"I told the girls I thought it was a good all-around match for us tonight," said Marion coach Amy Steininger. "I was pleased that we played three complete games tonight as opposed to Tuesday where we were kind of flat in the first two games."
The Flyers got going quickly in the opening game, as Kaylee Schaefer reeled off five straight service winners to stake the hosts to a 6-1 advantage. Alyssa Winner later stepped to the service line and scored six straight points, including a pair of aces, to make the score 14-4 and force the Cardinals to take their second timeout.
The hosts slowly built their lead with plenty of help from senior middle Ashley Lochtefeld, who notched three kills and registered a stuff block down the stretch to help provide the winning margin.
The second game was tight for a while, as the Cardinals pulled within two at 9-7 after a kill by Jackie Niekamp. The Flyers then got hot and went on a 7-1 run to force a Cardinal timeout, but the brief respite didn't stop the Marion attack. After a lengthy delay to sort out a rotation issue, the Flyers got three kills by Winner and Stacey Huber finished the game with six straight service winners.
Steininger went to her bench to start the third game to let some substitutes get some game action, but there was no drop-off in play by the hosts. The Flyers started the game with an 11-1 run and never looked back, as the lead ballooned to 18-4 at one point. One highlight for the hosts was the play of freshmen subs Claire Heitkamp and Josie Winner, who combined for three stuff blocks during one four-point stretch.
The Cardinals later scored five straight to make the score 24-9, but Marion's Kelly Schlarman ended things by sending a laser to the floor.
The Flyers dominated the net all night long, registering 13 blocks to just one for the Cardinals.
"We really out-sized them with our height," said Steininger. "Our timing was there and we were closing our blocks really well. I was really pleased with our front-row play, and all of our hitters did a nice job too."
Both squads will return to action Saturday with multiple contests on the docket. New Bremen will travel to Jackson Center for a trimatch that also features Springfield Catholic Central, while Marion will participate in the Mercer Health Invitational in Celina.
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