On Wednesday night, Marquette chugged through the first two sets against Illinois State with 25-22 and 25-18 wins heading to intermission. While things did get a little shifty in the first with things tied at 22, Lindsey Gosh popped two aces to give MU some space before Autumn Bailey racked up the win with a kill. The second set went much more smoothly, with MU building a 21-14 lead before cruising to a 2-0 lead.
That's where things went sideways.
You don't see a lot of people winning an elimination set while getting outhit .343 to .250, but that's exactly what Illinois State did. MU managed to wipe out a 16-10 Redbird lead to tie things at 19, but a quick 4-1 run gave ISU some space to get a chance to cut into MU's lead by taking the set 25-21. The fourth set went really badly for MU, as they hit just .068 en route to a 25-17 loss, sending things to the always terrible 15 point fifth set.
There's not a lot of time in a 15 point set, so three or four points in a row early on can spell doom for a team. That's why going down 7-3 to start out the fifth was not a good sign for the Golden Eagles. But Marquette found a 6-1 run in themselves to take the lead at 9-8, capped off by a Nele Barber kill and an ISU attack error. Things went nip and tuck from there, and MU nearly threw the whole thing away. A service error by Cat Mayer gave ISU a 14-13 lead for match point, but Bailey came up strong and tied the match back up. The dark side of Gosh's powerful serve suddenly surfaced as she committed a service error as well to put ISU back at match point, but again, Bailey responded with a kill. A kill from Meghan Niemann moved MU to match point, and an attack error by ISU finally gave Marquette the win.
Four different Golden Eagles registered at least 12 kills, led by 16 from Gosh. Both Niemann and Gosh were crazy accurate, hitting .355 and .324 respectively. Niemann (14 kills) and Barber (12 kills) both posted career highs in kills. Both Bailey (13K, 14D) and Elizabeth Koberstein (54A, 11D) posted double-doubles. Illinois State was led by 16 kills from Stacey Niao.
Up Next: Finally, it's time for Big East action! Marquette starts off the conference schedule on Saturday against DePaul. The Blue Demons are 13-0 this season, and have only dropped six sets all season.