When faced with the #3 team in the country for the second consecutive Friday, a team that starts three freshmen like Marquette does has to take the positives where you can get them. They're definitely not coming from the final score, as Penn State swept Marquette, 25-17, 25-12, 25-18, in the (deep breath) Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Airport Volleyball Classic on Friday afternoon.
In this case, a positive development is the play of Autumn Bailey. Last week, she struggled against USC, but against Penn State, Bailey finished with a match high 13 kills while hitting .321. When you take into account that Marquette only hit .163 as a team for the match, Bailey's ability to land kills is pretty impressive.
The Nittany Lions ran through the first two sets with little difficulty, especially in the second, where Marquette had just as many attack errors as they did kills, at nine each. In the third set, things went back and forth in the early going. Marquette even took a 13-12 lead before PSU went on a 9-1 run to go up 21-14 and effectively end things.
In the second match of the day, Marquette's performance resembled their bounce back effort against TCU last Saturday. Shaky at the start, but full of fire towards the end of the first set. In a change from the TCU match, Marquette was able to come away with the 26-24 first set win. MU jumped out to an 8-3 lead early in the second, and was able to hold on from there. In the third, things stayed close until MU went on a 8-0 run powered by four kills from Meghan Niemann to break things wide open and end up with the 3-0 match win.
Niemann was the kills leader in the match against FGCU, with both Bailey and Lindsey Gosh breaking into double digits with 12 and 10 kills respectively. Bailey had a double-double as she added 15 digs as well.
How about some highlights from the FGCU game and some post match reactions from head coach Bond Shymansky?
Marquette finishes the day with a record of 3-3 on the season, with all three losses coming to ranked opponents.
Up Next: The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears await Marquette at 2pm today. UCA is 7-2 on the season, after going 1-1 against Penn State (0-3) and FGCU (3-1) on Friday.