In this case, the bump in the road came in the first set, as the Musketeers took a 25-21 victory and a 1-0 lead in the Cintas Center on Saturday night. Freshman Abby Bessler was the standout for Xavier, registering five kills, including set point.
But Marquette didn't get a one game lead on the rest of the Big East by backing away from adversity. The Golden Eagles rallied by taking a tightly contested second set by a score of 25-23. Nele Barber came through for MU at the end, scoring kills for three of the final four points of the set to send things to intermission locked up at one set each.
Things stayed tight through the first 24 points of the third set, as Bessler registered a kill to knot things at 12 points each. But a 7-1 Golden Eagles run put the visitors in the driver's seat for the rest of the set. Marquette got their points on the run from a variety of sources, including an ace from Autumn Bailey, two kills from Barber, and two attack errors from Bessler.
The fourth set looked like Xavier might force a decisive fifth set for a bit. The Musketeers took leads of 10-7 and 15-11, but Marquette fired back and wiped out both of those leads. It was three kills from Barber that sparked the run that put Marquette back up at 16-15. Things went back and forth from there and were deadlocked at 19 before MU finished the set and the match on a 6-2 run.
Four Golden Eagles got to double digits in kills, led by 20 from Barber. Four Marquette players also hit double digits in digs, led by 30 from senior libero Julie Jeziorowski. That's the most digs recorded by any MU player since Jeziorowski herself had 31 against Northern Illinois in 2011. Both Bailey and senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein used their double digit digs as the back end of a double-double, with Bailey recording 13 kills and 15 digs, and Koberstein putting up 48 assists and 18 digs.
Xavier was led by 15 kills from Bessler, while Aubree Smith was a dynamo on both sides of the ball, recording 46 assists and 23 digs.
The win moves Marquette to 9-1 in league play, and the loss drops Xavier to 7-3. MU has a two game lead on the Musketeers and a 2 and a half game lead for the time being on Creighton.
Up Next: The Golden Eagles are off until next weekend when they return home for two matches. Seton Hall will provide the opposition on Friday night. The Pirates are 12-12 on the season and 3-6 in Big East matches as I type this, but they're currently down 2 sets to none on the road against Creighton.