Women's Volleyball: A Trip To The Xavier Invitational

Elizabeth Koberstein (18), the Big East's assists leader, sets up Kelsey Mattai (10) for a kill. (via Maggie Casey/MarquetteImages.com)

We break from tradition again this week, and provide a preview of weekend events on a Thursday. Why the change this time? Well, Marquette has a 9am match tomorrow against Mississippi to open up their participation in the Xavier Invitational in Cincinnati. My options were A) write the entire weekend preview today or B) Give you volleyball today and write soccer while watching the live stats from the Ole Miss match. Since this will make the Weekend Preview shorter and therefore easier to read for you readers, B is your big winner.

Marquette will play two matches tomorrow and a third on Saturday against Xavier. While the Golden Eagles went 1-1 in the opening weekend of the season, there are some bright spots to mention. Junior setter Elizabeth Koberstein has stepped right into the vacancy left by Chelsea Heier and is leading the Big East in assists per set at 11.86. Sophomore Lindsay Gosh's powerful lefty serve has her atop the Big East at 1.14 aces per set. Koberstein's assists have Marquette atop the Big East's team assist average list (13.57/set), and Gosh's aces push MU all the way up to second on that list (1.71/set). MU also slides in at second in team hitting percentage (.230) and team kills per set (13.86).

Hit the jump, and we'll talk about Marquette's three opponents!

First up tomorrow morning at 9am is Mississippi. The Rebels started their season off at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami where they beat Samford, but suffered defeats at the hands of Wofford and host Miami, with both of the losses coming in the fifth set. Junior outside hitter Kara Morgan is the dangerous weapon for Ole Miss, averaging 2.64 kills/set, while fellow outside hitter and senior Allegra Wells averages 2 kills per set right on the number. Senior setter Amanda Philpot dishes out 7.93 assists in every set while senior Ashley Veach anchors the back line with 5.5 digs per set. It seems odd, but somehow, Philpot is actually second on the Rebels in digs/set at 2.57.

The second opponent for Marquette tomorrow will be Tennessee Tech (1-2) at 4pm Central. The Golden Eagles (oh, man, writing this recap is going to be no fun) went to the Comfort Inns & Suites Invitational hosted by UT-Chattanooga to start the season where they suffered the same fate as Ole Miss did in their opening tournament. TTU's lone win came in a sweep of Alcorn State, while they dropped matches to South Carolina Upstate and UT-Chattanooga. Both of those ended in sweeps as well. Junior outside hitter Natalie Penrod is not to be trifled with, as she averages nearly 4 kills per set. Senior Madison Comperry and junior Ashleigh Hancock split the duties at setter, with both averaging more than 4.6 assists in every set. Five Golden Eagles are in double digits in digs on the young season, led by sophomore Courtney Smith's 5.33/set average.

Saturday afternoon offers the hosting Xavier Musketeers (3-1) as the opposition at 3pm Central. The match will be streamed live on GoXavier.com. Xavier went 2-1 at the Big Orange Bash, as they defeated South Carolina State and Coastal Carolina, but fell to host Clemson. They also picked up a 3-0 win on the road against Morehead State on Tuesday night. Junior outside hitter Sarah Brown (3.37 kills/set) leads a well balanced XU offense that has six players averaging more than 1.5 kills/set. Sophomore Aubree Smith holds things down at setter (10.52 assists/set), while senior Stephanie Vorherr is the stalwart on the Musketeer back line with 4.3 digs/set.

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