| by Mitch Huppert
Huntington, Ind. – The Marian volleyball team crowned themselves as queens of the Crossroads League Wednesday night, as the Knights wrapped up their fourth Crossroads League Regular Season Championship in five seasons with a sweep at Huntington. Marian’s undefeated run through the league has their conference record at 16-0 following the win, while they improve to 28-0 overall this season.

The Knights and Foresters battled through three sets, with Marian holding an early edge in the first set. Michaela Hoffa and Skyler Van Note helped push their lead out to five points at 12-7, but after the pair of hitters secured a 16-12 lead, Huntington with a 6-0 run to take an 18-16 lead. Marian used a timeout, and repsonded out of the timeout with a 3-0 paced by a pair of Jai-Lyn Norwood kills to get back in system. Marian never relinquished the lead following the 3-0 jaunt, as Madison Brooks, Norwood, and Van Note polished off a 25-20 victory.

Like the first set, the second set followed with a back and forth battle early with neither team finding separation as the set opened at an 8-8 draw. Huntington held their own gaining an 11-9 lead, but a Serena Dodson kill flipped the momentum back to the Knights as they scored on five of six rallies. The run extended to 7-2 after a block from Sarah Spangler and Norwood pushed the lead to 16-13, and Marian continued to stay in fron as Averi Lanman and Brooks teamed up for a block to go up 20-17. Huntington used both of their timeouts to try and slow Marian down, but it was too late as Norwood and Spangler closed the 25-21 win.

Marian continued to fend off a scrappy Huntington team in the third set, as the home team rallied back to take a bried lead after falling behind 7-4. Norwood helped the Knights get back in system after falling back 8-7, and started a 5-1 run that featured three kills from Van Note. Two more kills from Van Note grew Marian’s lead to five at 16-11, but the Foresters stayed in the set inching within two after scoring three straight. A kill from Hoffa bumped Marian’s lead back to three, as the senior’s kill gave the Knights a cushion to withstand a late Huntington charge. Spangler won the match with a kill on the final rally, closing the sweep with a 25-23 win.

The Knights recorded 44 kills as a team in the win, and were led by Skyler Van Note’s 13 kills on 36 swings. Spangler finished with nine kills, and Norwood had eight to go with three block assists. Lanman led Marian in blocks with five assists, and Maggie Meyer helped lead the defense with 13 digs. Lexi Spence had a service ace and nine digs as the senior led the setters with 19 assists, and Dodson had 17 assists and nine digs.

Marian will finish their regular season next week, playing two teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. The Knights begin their two-match stretch at No. 22 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday October 27, and close at home for a senior day match against (RV) Bethel on October 30.