Yesterday Marquette and BYU played a fantastic back and forth match through four sets. BYU won the first, 25-23, followed by a 25-19 Marquette win in the second. After intermission, BYU tore through the third set 25-17, and Marquette stormed back to tie things at two with a 25-14 set win.
So the question is: Why, after such an excellent match, did the contest have to be decided by a 15-12 fifth set won by BYU? By rule, deciding sets must be played to only 15 points. How is this 1) logical or 2) fun for anyone either participating or watching? I'm not saying Marquette was screwed out of a win in this situation. Games are decided by more than a play or two or three, and Marquette had a 9-8 lead in the fifth as well. What I am saying that watching a 25 point fifth set would have been more exciting than realizing that the match was essentially over when BYU took a 14-11 lead when Elizabeth Koberstein was whistled for a ball handling error. Marquette head coach Bond Shymansky took such offense with the call that not only was he issued a yellow card for dissent, but his exclamation of "REALLY?!" was audible over the Bowling Green student radio broadcast.
In much better news, it turns out that Autumn Bailey's performance against Bowling Green was not beginner's luck. The freshman from Canada posted her second straight double-double with 26 kills and 14 digs. Not only was she the focus of the Golden Eagle attack, but she did it with resounding accuracy, posting a .300 hitting percentage for the match. Bailey's 26 kills are the most by a Golden Eagle since November 24, 2007, when Kim Todd and Ashlee Fisher had 29 and 27 kills respectively in the same match (!) against South Dakota State.
Marquette also got good performances from their returning players. Erin Lehman came off the bench to record 15 kills, while Lindsey Gosh had 13 kills and four service aces. Three of Gosh's aces came in the fourth set when MU needed to force a fifth, which is outstanding for the sometimes erratic lefty. Elizabeth Koberstein had 58 assists on MU's 70 kills and added nine digs and three kills, including a patented Bisky Kill to provide the deciding point in the fourth set. Julie Jeziorowski had a match high 18 digs to extend her all time digs record, and no, I'm never going to get tired of typing that.
Bailey and Koberstein were both named to the Hampton Inn Invitational All-Tournament team. Creighton setter Michelle Sicner was named tournament MVP after averaging 11.57 assists and 3.43 digs per set.
Up Next: Marquette returns home to open their home slate with the Marquette Challenge. #4 USC will provide the opposition on Friday night.