With Marquette already three games behind league leader Creighton in the loss column, and two games back of Villanova as well, it was important for the Golden Eagles to take care of business this weekend just to keep pace. They had two home contests against teams well behind them in the league standings, and things were set up perfectly for MU to start building some momentum after losing three of their last seven.
Marquette did exactly that, picking up 3-0 wins against both Providence and St. John's on Friday and Saturday night. Taylor Louis totaled 37 kills in just six sets to boost her season long average back above five kills per set and into the #2 spot nationally.
Between the two matches, Marquette had the worse offensive night on Friday against the Friars. They hit .231 on the night, just slightly below their team average of .247. Louis led all attackers with 17 kills and she added 11 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. She didn't even have a good night, as she committed nine errors and only hit .170. Sara Blasier also recorded a double-double, her fourth of the season. The junior setter had a match high 33 assists and 10 digs as well.
The first set started out a little shaky for the Golden Eagles, with PC taking leads of 6-4 and 11-9. From there, though, hooooo boy. Marquette outscored Providence 16-6 the rest of the way, including a 12-4 burst to end the first set at 25-17. The second set was powered by a 4-0 run by Marquette early that gave them the lead for good, and they just slowly pulled away for the 25-19 win capped off by a Meghan Niemann kill.
In the third set, Marquette got a lead early, but Providence wouldn't go away. They kept putting together two or three or four point bursts to keep things interesting. It got real interesting on the last point of their last run of the game when Kayla Fitzgerald and Nicole Fletcher teamed up to block a Blasier attack and give the Friars a 21-20 lead. MU bounced back with a pair of Teal Schnurr kills bracketing a block from Louis and Jenna Rosenthal to take a 23-21 lead before Louis smashed the match point to the ground.
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After a less than great showing against PC on Friday, Marquette gave St. John's the business on Saturday. The Golden Eagles hit .330 as a team and held the Red Storm to just .131 on the night as MU zipped through the three set win with little resistance. Louis hit a sizzling .395 to get her match high 20 kills on 38 swings. No other Golden Eagle broke the 10 kill barrier in the match, but that's what happens when you block your opponent nine times and force them into 20 attack errors overall.
Marquette led by a little bit early in the first set and eventually blew that lead open to 13-6 and then 19-7, with Louis providing the kills to cap both of those surges. That made the rest of the 25-17 first set academic until Schnurr finished it off. The second set was more of the same, really, with Marquette getting their big lead early. MU was up 8-3 on a kill by (wait for it) Louis, and that eventually turned into 12-6 after SJU's Shawna-Lei Santos committed one of her three errors on the night. MU basically played St. John's even from there and Erin Lehman finished off the 25-19 win.
The third set, though... there was nothing about "playing them even" in that set. Well, that's a lie. It was 3-3 after the first six points. Then it was 13-3 after Marquette scored the next ten unanswered. Even after SJU broke the run with a kill from Margherita Bianchin, MU scored the next three points, and that one was OVER and Niemann's solo block to wrap up the match was merely the final shovelful of dirt onto the St. John's coffin.
Up Next: It's another home weekend for the Golden Eagles. They'll host Seton Hall (10-11, 4-5 Big East) on Friday night, followed by another quick turn around to Villanova (18-4, 8-1 Big East) on Saturday night. While you can't overlook the Pirates, Marquette's eye will definitely be on earning the season series split against the Wildcats.