Marquette got off to a rough start in the township of Radnor on Saturday evening. They struggled to connect on their attacks, hitting just .148 in the opening frame. Still, the set was closely contested up until a 3-0 run by Villanova made it 19-16. Marquette would tie things back up, but a bad set from Elizabeth Koberstein and an attack error from Meghan Niemann gave the advantage back to the Wildcats. It took three tries at set point, but eventually Villanova came away with a 25-22 win.
The second set started with the two teams trading points. That's when Marquette's men's soccer team entered Jake Nevin Field House, fresh off their overtime 1-0 win over Villanova's men's soccer team. The energy of the building changed, and Marquette was able to create a 5-1 run to take a 12-8 lead. The Wildcats regrouped and knotted it back up at 13, but MU answered with another 5-1 run, powered by two service aces from Lindsey Gosh. Villanova would respond again, retying the set at 20 and again at 21. Villanova's Claire Crutchfield and MU's Autumn Bailey traded points for the rest of the set. Unfortunately for VU, two of the points generated by Crutchfield were attack errors, including the set point. Marquette hit a rousing .440 while tying the match at a set each.
The third set looked like it was going to be all Marquette. The Golden Eagles went up 10-4 and then 12-6 in the early going. But Villanova went on a 13-5 run, eventually taking a 19-17 lead. That's when Nele Barber took over. The freshman from Germany had two kills and partnered with Jackie Kocken on a block for three of MU's points on a 5-0 run to put the Golden Eagles back up 22-19. Two kills from Gosh and an ace from Ellie Rauch gave MU the third set victory.
The fourth set started out with Villanova getting a point on a Colleen Hickey kill, but it was all MU the rest of the way. The visiting Golden Eagles hit .520 in the fourth frame and ran away and hid for a 25-14 win to end the match.
Bailey led Marquette with 15 kills, with Gosh right behind her with 14. Bailey also had a team high 11 digs and was matched in the double-double department by 41 assists and 10 digs from Koberstein.
Marquette moves to 3-0 in Big East play, while Villanova falls to 2-1. The Golden Eagles are the only undefeated team left in the league, with St. John's losing to Butler and Xavier falling to Creighton.
Up Next: Tuesday night brings Marquette back to the Al McGuire Center for their last non-conference match of the year. Loyola-Chicago (8-9) provides the opposition.