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Volleyball: Marquette finishes season 27-7 after early NCAA loss

Golden Eagles drop straight sets to #21 Creighton in the opening round of NCAA tournament.

Kelsey Mattai was one of four seniors playing their last match in the blue and gold.
Kelsey Mattai was one of four seniors playing their last match in the blue and gold.
Maggie Casey, MarquetteImages.com

After dropping hard fought sets 22-25, 23-25, and 26-28 to Creighton on Friday evening, Marquette’s season ended in an early exit from the NCAA tournament. Seniors Danielle Carlson and Holly Mertens, making the most of what turned into their last match as Golden Eagles, tied for the team lead in kills at 13 each. Freshman Erin Lehman, reminding fans that this is a team built to contend for years, also broke double digits and notched 10 kills.

The Blue Jays and Golden Eagles were in a dead heat early in the first set before Creighton scored 4 straight points to pull ahead 11-7. Marquette refused to quit and staved off 2 set points before losing the set 22-25. The Golden Eagles then jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before allowing the Blue Jays 5 to score unanswered points. Marquette fought back to tie it back at 8 and then the teams were locked a tight back and forth battle. Creighton eventually managed to take a two point advantage at 18-16, but Marquette charged back to tie it up again. The last tie of the set was at 22, but a Carlson kill kept the Eagles’ hopes alive at the first set point; however, after a timeout Creighton was able to take the second set 25-23.

With their season on the line, Marquette built a 7-3 advantage in the third before Creighton took a timeout and came back to tie it up at 9. Another close contest followed with neither team ever leading by more than one. Marquette reached set point first, but could not finish to force a fourth set. Creighton survived three set points and then took the last two points of the match to advance to the NCAA second round.

Bond Shymansky’s squad posted a 27-7 overall record and was perfect in conference play against teams not named Louisville. A thank you goes out to each member of this team, but special shout outs must be given to seniors Danielle Carlson, Carol Henney, Kelsey Mattai, and Holly Mertens. Four years ago Marquette finished with an 11-18 record before Shymansky took over the reins: the team has won more matches each successive season since then. As these four women wrap up their careers, the team has earned consecutive berths to the NCAA tournament and seems poised to be a long-term contender in the Big East. THANK YOU LADIES.