Volleyball: Marquette 3, Butler 1

Before taking on Butler, senior Rachel Stier, who passed 1,000 career digs during the previous night's match, was awarded the game ball from that victory. - MarquetteImages.com

The Golden Eagles end season perfect at home in Big East play after topping Butler in a Senior Night nail-biter

Marquette seemed that it would cruise out to victory after opening up a five point lead over Butler in the first set.  But the Bulldogs had plenty of fight and started to make it interesting late and pulled within a pair.  But the Golden Eagles stymied the comeback and took the set 25-22.  However, the fire lit under Butler didn't die down: the teams traded points for a bit, but once the Bulldogs broke a 7 all tie, they pulled away.  The Golden Eagles struggled: they were hitting -.125 when they found themselves down 15-11.  They improved and finished the set hitting .043, but a comeback attempt fell just short and Butler claimed the second set 25-23.

While the final scores were close in the first two sets, it felt as though Marquette was in control in the first and the same for Butler in the second.  The third set was an entirely different animal: there were five lead changes.  The Golden Eagles went up 9-6 on Butler and that was the largest lead either team held in the set.  Once the Bulldogs tied it up at 10, there were fourteen ties as the teams once again traded points.  Butler reached 20 first and a set point first, but consecutive kills by Lindsey Gosh and Autumn Bailey flipped the tables in Marquette's favor. The Bulldogs staved off a set point, but after a Teal Schnurr block and their own attack error the third went in the books, 27-25, for the Golden Eagles.

Marquette initially seemed in control of the fourth opening up a six point lead as Gosh caught fire and scored 7 straight for Marquette (she sprinkled a block in between her kills).  But Butler would not go quietly into the night: after their 10-4 run, the score was knotted at 19 all.  Once again, the Bulldogs reached set point first, but the Golden Eagles won three straight to tie it up at 24.  The 25-24 set point was the last to favor Butler: they then fought off 3 match points, before Marquette won it 29-27 for the 3-1 victory.

Nele Barber scored the game's final point to reach a team leading 18 kills breaking a three way tie between her, Bailey, and Gosh.  Meghan Niemann also reached double digits in kills (11).  Elizabeth Koberstein added another 60 assists to her career total.  Marquette finishes the season 15-1 in conference, including a perfect record in the McGuire Center, and 23-5 overall.

Up next: The Big East volleyball tournament gets underway in Omaha on November 29 between the top four teams in the conference.  Xavier and Creighton face off in one semi-final while Marquette gets a re-match with Butler.

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