Autumn Bailey is a weapon of mass destruction. The sophomore from Burlington, Ontario, had match highs in kills with 19 and digs with 14, as Marquette picked up the straight sets win over St. John's on Saturday afternoon, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21.
The game may have come down to the story at setter on both sides of the net. Gabby Benda got the start for Marquette and didn't alternate with Mary Nilles for the first time this season, recording 34 saves to boost her season average to 6.64/set and guiding the Golden Eagles to a team hitting percentage of .347. Meanwhile, on the other side of the net, Shawna-Lei Santos was moved from her usual libero position to the setter spot to replace Deniz Mutlugil, who picked up an injury since Friday night's contest against DePaul. Santos managed just 24 assists in the match and St. John's hit only .120 as a team.
The first set was knotted at six through the first 12 points, then Marquette took the next five to build a lead and never look back. The second set kept that hot streak running, with MU taking leads of 7-0 and 12-3 after St. John's head coach Joanne Persico took both of her timeouts for the set in the first five points.
As was the case against Providence the night before, the third set tightened up. It was tied at seven, and St. John's started building a lead off of the next three points. After Bailey committed the second of her two errors in the match, the Red Storm seemed like they might push this thing to four sets with a 21-17 lead. Then Karin Palgutova couldn't land two shots in bounds to make it 21-19. A kill from Bailey and an ace from Nele Barber tied the match at 21. A quick alternation between SJU attack errors and blocks on Palgutova later, and Marquette was headed to the locker room with a 3-0 win. It's the second straight match where the Golden Eagles used a big time run in the third set to come away with the sweep.
St. John's was lead by eight kills from Palgutova and 13 digs from Morgan Thomas, who picked up the nod at libero to replace Santos.
Marquette has now won 14 straight Big East matches, and has also picked up eight straight wins against St. John's.
Up Next: The Golden Eagles return to the McGuire Center for their Big East home opener on Friday. They'll take on Georgetown (6-9, 0-2) at 7pm, and students that bring three friends with them get FREE PIZZA.