The Golden Eagles started out strong against Cincinnati in yesterday's Big East Volleyball Championship semifinals, building early leads in the first two sets to carry them to identical 25-21 wins. With a 2-0 lead, all Marquette had to do was win one set to put them in the Big East title game.
But while Marquette outhit the Bearcats in the third set, .302 to .283, Cincinnati built early leads of 12-7 and 20-12 while Marquette looked uncharacteristically disorganized. But they would regain their composure and close that lead with an 8-2 run, but it wouldn't be enough as Cincinnati got on the board at 2-1.
From there, Cincinnati asserted control of the match. They had their best set hitting percentage of the match, .421, in the fourth set against Marquette's .189, their match low. That disparity allowed the Bearcats to take the 4th set with the widest margin of any of the sets, 25-17.
The fifth set went back to the way the first three had gone, with Marquette being able to take an early lead. But after rallying from an 0-2 hole to force the fifth, the Bearcats had the confidence to be able to take a lead and hold on as Missy Harpenau's 21st kill of the match finished up the comeback and put Cincinnati into the Big East finals.
Ashley Beyer led Marquette with a season high 20 kills, and Chelsea Heier set a new career high with 64 assists. While Marquette has been eliminated from the Big East Championship, it is not their last match of the season. They will wrap up the regular season next Saturday with a trip to DeKalb, IL, as they look for revenge for a early season loss to Northern Illinois. The Huskies finished as the MAC West division champions with the best record in the conference. They will play Central Michigan today for the MAC Championship.