As the first day of the new school year approaches, Marquette volleyball got their season started by hosting the 2012 Marquette Challenge. First up for the Golden Eagles was Bowling Green on Friday night. Before she even attended one official college class, freshman Erin Lehman got her college career off to a hot start, leading the way with 12 kills as Marquette swept Bowling Green, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-19). Lindsay Gosh and Danielle Carlson both added 10 kills, Elizabeth Koberstein had 40 assists in her Marquette debut, and Julie Jeziorowski led the defense with 20 digs, including 13 in the second set.
Marquette out hit Bowling Green for the night, .329 to .187. The Falcons got a double-double from Danielle Tonyan with 12 kills and 10 digs, but no other player managed more than 8 kills.
After Northwestern beat Bowling Green on Saturday, Sunday afternoon's contest between the Wildcats and the Golden Eagles ended up being for the Milwaukee Challenge championship. Unfortunately, things did not go Marquette's way after an early positive start and Northwestern defeated MU 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 28-26, 25-18). The first set was marred by service errors, but Marquette got five kills from Carlson to start off with a 1-0 lead. The second was back and forth early, but two runs of four points each sent Marquette from down 10-8 to up 17-15. From there, Northwestern scored the next 4 points, things got muddled as to what the score was, and the Wildcats evened the match at 1.
Things went from bad to worse for the Golden Eagles after that. Northwestern went up 5-0 and 8-2 to start the third before Marquette would eventually come all the way back on a six point run, including three aces from Gosh to take a 20-16 lead in the third. But the Wildcats wouldn't go away as they dodged match point twice and forced the match to go to 28 points to take the lead headed to the fourth set. In the fourth, Marquette couldn't break through as Koberstein's kill to pull within four at 10-6 was the first of the set for the Golden Eagles. By the time that they got their second kill, the score was 16-10 and all but over.
Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus registered 18 kills against Marquette and was named MVP of the Marquette Challenge. Carlson and Lehman were also named to the all-tournament team.
Marquette looks to avoid going under .500 on the season with three matches next weekend in Cincinnati as part of the Xavier Tournament.