In an effort to answer our question about who will Elizabeth Koberstein be passing to, head coach Bond Shymansky sent the Golden Eagles out on to the floor to face Bowling Green with a lineup featuring three freshmen hitters - Autumn Bailey and redshirt freshmen Jackie Kocken and Meghan Niemann - making their NCAA debuts. It took a set to get some things ironed out, but Marquette eventually came away with a 3-1 (19-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-23) win to open the season.
While Bailey put MU on the scoreboard first with the first attack of her collegiate career, MU was a jumbled mess in the first set. Eight attack errors and five service errors gave Bowling Green more than half the points they needed to take the first set, 25-19. The second set was a much tighter affair, and Lindsey Gosh scored the last three points of the set to fight off BGSU's try at set point and give MU a 27-25 win. Marquette made just one attack error in the third set while hitting .429 to roll to a 25-17 win to take the advantage in the match. Things got close again in the fourth as Bowling Green tried to force Marquette to the absurdly shortened fifth set, but Bailey stepped up for the Golden Eagles and scored five kills on MU's last six points to finish with 19 kills and give her team the set 25-23 and the match as well.
As you can guess, Bailey led all players with her 19 kills. She also had her first career double-double with a team high 16 digs as she took over the rover spot in Shymansky's set up. Niemann and Kocken also did well in their debuts with 10 and nine kills respectively. Niemann appears to snagged a tip or two on accuracy from Danielle Carlson, as she posted a team best .368 hitting percentage. Erin Lehman came off the bench to tally 11 kills and Julie Jeziorowski extended her all-time digs record with another 11 from the back line. Koberstein was her usual dynamic self, handing out 52 assists on MU's 55 kills and providing some defense as well with 12 digs.
Bowling Green was led by 13 kills from both Danielle Tonyan and Paige Penrod. Lauren Avila had a double-double for the Falcons with 27 assists and 11 digs.
Up Next: As I type this, we're 45 minutes away from Marquette facing off with #13 BYU at Bowling Green's Hampton Inn Invitational. The Cougars dropped their season opener yesterday 3-1 to #25 Creighton.