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Big East Semifinal: Marquette 3, South Florida 1

After a nail biting comeback in the fourth set, the Golden Eagles earn their first trip to the Big East title match.

All time Marquette leader in career digs and a place in the Big East title match: Jeziorowki has a lot to celebrate.
All time Marquette leader in career digs and a place in the Big East title match: Jeziorowki has a lot to celebrate.

Marquette vanquished South Florida, 3-1, in their semifinal match to set up a rematch in the finals against Louisville. The Cardinals are the only team to have bested the Golden Eagles in conference play and won both meetings between the teams this season. Louisville beat Cincinnati in straight sets in the other Big East semifinal.

Although the Bulls managed to keep up early in the first set, Marquette had built a 10-6 lead when USF called its first time out to regroup. But the Bulls continued to help the Golden Eagles: USF committed 7 attack errors in the set and watched Marquette run away with a 25-16 victory. The second set was a bit tighter: neither team led by more than one until a Holly Mertens kill and two attack errors by USF opened the door for Marquette. The Golden Eagles never relinquished that lead: they won the set 25-20.

Although it opened tightly contested like the previous two sets, Marquette found itself trailing after allowing five unanswered points that jump started a 11-5 USF run. Kills by Danielle Carlson and Erin Lehman combined with more attack errors by the Bulls got the Golden Eagles within two points. USF killed the comeback by taking the three points, but Marquette endured three set points to tie it up at 24 and another to tie it 25, but it was not meant to be. Consecutive kills by Andrea Rodriguez-Gomez gave set to USF, 27-25.

The Bulls' energy carried them to a quick 8-2 lead to open the fourth set, but the Golden Eagles righted the ship. When Lindsey Gosh literally put a kill in an opponent's face to pull Marquette within one, it was clear that momentum had shifted. Back to back kills by Carlson tied the set at 13 and the Golden Eagles soon led 18-14 which forced USF to burn its final timeout. The Bulls made good use of it and tied it up at 19, but promptly kissed their comeback goodbye by committing a service error and three consecutive attack errors. Marquette closed out the set with a 25-22 win to claim the match 3-1.

While USF's 24 total attack errors were a boon to Marquette, the Golden Eagles offense didn't slack off: Carlson led the team with 14 kills in the match while Mertens, Gosh, and Lehman also broke double digits in kills.

Julie Jeziorowski Digs Watch: Jeziorowski entered the match needing just three digs to overtake Marquette career digs leader Jamie Mueller (1,567). She passed the record in the first set and then some: Jeziorowski finished with 20 digs on the night.