After dropping the first set by a narrow margin, Marquette came roaring back to take the next three sets on Wednesday and defeated Butler, 3-1 (20-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-21).
I don't mean "roaring back" in terms of just taking the next three, I mean it in terms of the offense. The Golden Eagles hit just .167 in the first set as Butler took an early lead and was able to scoot to a 25-20 win. In the next two sets, Marquette hit over .425 in each of the next two frames while outscoring Butler by a combined 18 points. MU committed fewer errors in the second and third sets combined (5) than they did in the first set (6) by itself.
Things did slow down in the fourth set, as Marquette was actually outhit by Butler. The Golden Eagles had the early advantage, but a 5-1 run by the Bulldogs turned things in their favor. Mary Striedl and Makaila Jarema teamed up to block Teal Schnurr and make the score 18-16 favoring Butler to cap that run, but Marquette answered with six straight of their own, keyed by two kills from Taylor Louis. We started leaning towards a fifth and deciding set late as Butler reeled off four straight to pull within two, but one more kill from Louis and an attack error by Butler ended the match in four sets.
The key component to Marquette blasting their way through Butler was Joy Miley. After earning a Big East Honor Roll spot on Monday, Miley followed that up by hitting a career best .455 against the Bulldogs. She had 12 kills in the match with just two errors on 22 attacks. In her free time, she also chipped in assists on three of the five blocks that Marquette had in the match.
Taylor Louis finished with a match high 20 kills to average five kills per set on the night and keep her top five in the country average as high as possible. Things were undoubtedly made easier for Miley to have her outstanding evening by Louis crushing kills at a .306 clip. Lauren Houg might have finished with the most surprising stat of the night: The junior libero finished with a rare double-double for her position: 16 digs and 10 assists. As you might expect based on that math, setter Sara Blasier had a down night for her, recording "just" 38 assists. Blasier occupied herself on defense in the meantime, though, notching a team high 17 digs.
Up Next: Marquette takes to the road this weekend. They'll be visiting Villanova (11-4, 1-1 Big East) on Friday and following that up with a match the next night against Seton Hall (7-7, 1-1 Big East).