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Marquette Volleyball Weekend Preview: at Creighton & at Georgetown

The Golden Eagles face their goofiest road trip of the season (Friday in Omaha, Sunday in Washington, D.C.) as they look to stay within a game of first place in the Big East.

Sorry Georgetown, you don't rate a mascot picture over Creighton.
Sorry Georgetown, you don't rate a mascot picture over Creighton.
Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, Marquette Volleyball on Instagram! Has the team ever been to Omaha before?

#tbt Our last trip to Omaha went pretty well.

A photo posted by Marquette Volleyball (@marquettevb) on

Ah, yes, Marquette won the Big East tournament in DJ Sokol Arena the last time they were there, defeating the hosting Creighton Bluejays in the final.  Now, to be fair to the Jays, they shredded MU on their first trip to Nebraska last season, and Creighton also came away with the win in their trip to Milwaukee earlier this season.

But the weekend still kicks off with the Golden Eagles looking to stay within a game of first place in the Big East.  MU cut the lead to just one game by handing Seton Hall their first league loss of the season last Saturday, and now the Pirates and the Bluejays are tied with just one loss, right in front of Marquette and their two conference losses.

The last few matches have shown two things about Marquette. First, Autumn Bailey is a white hot greasefire of volleyball destruction, winning two straight Big East Offensive Player of the Week awards.  Second, Bailey can't win matches on her own.  The sophomore outside hitter crushed Butler last Wednesday, but it still turned into a loss for the Golden Eagles.  There's a lot of talent on this MU squad, and everyone has to contribute to not only get Marquette those precious wins, but also make Bailey even more dangerous.

Big East Match #10: At Creighton (15-7, 8-1 Big East)

When: Friday, October 24, 2014, at 7pm Central
Where: D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha, NE
Audio/Visual: This one's on the Big East Digital Network via Fox Sports Go, plus a radio stream from KZOT in Omaha.  Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Since last we saw the Creighton Bluejays, they suffered their first loss of the season to Seton Hall, but bounced back with three straight wins.  With two straight sweeps of St. John's and Providence in their last two matches, Creighton has won eight straight sets going back to their 3-1 win over Villanova.

Part of the reason that Creighton's been catching fire lately is the return of Jess Bird to the lineup.  Marquette got a good look at the sophomore outside hitter in the first match of the year, where she recorded a career high 18 kills and 12 digs.  The Bennington, NE, native missed 12 of CU's first 14 matches due to a knee injury, but she's averaging nearly 10 kills per match in the Jays' last six contests.

Waukesha, Wisconsin's own Kelli Browning leads Creighton in kills at this point in the season with 3.35 per set, the eighth best mark in the Big East.  She's also the most accurate attacker in the conference, scoring points on 38% of her strikes this season.  Junior Kate Elman leads the CU defense with 4.49 digs/set, and she's already one of the best defensive players in Creighton history.  The Omaha native broke the Bluejay record for most digs in a career earlier this season, as well as the CU mark for most matches with at least 10 digs.

Big East Match #11: At Georgetown (8-14, 2-7 Big East)

When: Sunday, October 26, 2014, at noon Central
Where: McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C.
Audio/Visual: There's video, but Georgetown's making you pay for it.  GameTracker's free, though.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

The organization of the Big East is such that sometimes, it's hard to make nice travel partners.  Marquette & DePaul are a nice weekend trip, as are Butler & Xavier or St. John's & Seton Hall.  But not everything matches up well, so sometimes you have to go to Washington, D.C. after playing in Omaha.  Such is the necessity of the volleyball schedule.

It's been five matches since Marquette and Georgetown last tangled, and the Hoyas have gone 2-3.  This sounds pretty good relative to how their overall season has gone, but there's a catch: The wins are over Providence and DePaul, the two teams trailing Georgetown in the standings.  The Hoyas do get DePaul into McDonough on Friday night, so there's a decent chance that GU could be riding high on a win coming in to the meeting with Marquette.  Sunday's contest will be the last of a four game homestand for Georgetown, and they'll follow that up with five straight on the road, so that's just another reason for an inspired effort from them.

Therese Cannon leads the Hoya offense, which continues to entertain me.  How appropriate is it, in a sport where points are recorded via "kills" to have a Cannon providing the most kills on the team?  The 6'3" freshman averages 2.96 kills/set, good enough for ninth best in the league.  Dani White has the second best mark at 2.52/set, but when you combine that with her team high 1.05 blocks per frame, it bumps her into the ninth best points per set mark in the conference, just a shade in front of Cannon in 10th.