CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The third time was not the charm for the Marian Catholic volleyball team Monday night.
After dropping two matches to St. Ignatius over the weekend at the Nike Preview tournament, the Spartans were seeking revenge on their home court.
The entire match was a back-and-forth affair, but the Wolfpack rallied late in both games to top Marian once again -- 25-21, 25-23.
The first game featured 10 ties, but St. Ignatius won four of the final five points to win it.
Marian (5-9) led the start of game two until the Wolfpack tied things at 17 apiece. The game also was tied at 21, but once again St. Ignatius rallied at the end.
"We struggled with communication at the end of those games," Marian sophomore Kelly Marcinek said. "We're trying to get better at that."
"The momentum was starting to shift there," Spartans coach Stefanie Cravens added. "When the momentum starts to swing in the other team's favor, that's when you need communication the most."
The Spartans also struggled with the St. Ignatius front line for most of the match.
Morgan Sullivan led Marian with seven kills, but it took her 25 attempts to get there.
"We needed to establish the middle more and then move back out to the sides," Cravens said. "We needed to make them move their block, and we weren't able to do that."
Defensively, Marcinek noted that the Spartans' own block was struggling against the powerful Wolfpack attack.
Marcinek knew that first-hand, as a kill from St. Ignatius sophomore Camille Evans struck Marcinek in the wrist, knocking her out of the match late in the second game.
But before she left, it was Marcinek who kept her team in the match. With Sullivan shut down, the Spartans sophomore put up six kills, eight digs and five assists.
"Playing them for the third time in four days told us where to hit the ball and where to move our sets," Marcinek said.
Of course, the Wolfpack had that same advantage, so Cravens said she tried to catch them off-guard.
"We tried to throw some new stuff at them," Cravens said. "Anything we hadn't shown them in the first two (matches) we wanted to throw out their today. And we wanted to play quicker."