Big weekend for Marquette volleyball. Big, big weekend.
I don't just mean because it's homecoming weekend at Georgetown, which I did not know was a thing. No, the big deal is that Marquette is going up against league favorite Creighton on Sunday. The Jays are currently undefeated in Big East play at 5-0, so it shapes up to be a stern test for the 3-2 Golden Eagles. Still, if Marquette has their eyes on an NCAA tournament berth, they're probably going to need to clip the Jays at some point this season. It's either that or hope that Xavier and/or Villanova play their way into the field of 64, as MU has already recorded losses against both of those Big East squads.
Taylor Louis continues her ferocious redshirt freshman season, as she currently ranks #2 in the country - yes, that's right - with 5.11 kills per set. She's one of just five players averaging more than five kill per frame, just to give you an idea of the rarified air that she's working with here. Louis isn't alone in those national standings, as teammate Lauren Houg sits at #14 in the country in digs per set at 5.23.
Big East Match #6: at Georgetown (7-11, 1-4 Big East)
When: Friday, October 9, 2015, at 6pm Central
Where: McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C.
Audio/Visual: Georgetown's going to make you pay for video, but there's live stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB
The Hoyas had won three of their last five heading into the start of Big East play, but they've sandwiched just one win in between pairs of losses to open up the conference slate. Kind of business as usual for Georgetown, as they've managed just nine Big East wins in their last three seasons, including four in each of the past two.
Here's two things that don't bode well for Georgetown when they stand across the net from Marquette: The Hoyas are the worst hitting team in the Big East at a hitting percentage of just .185, and in addition to that, they're the worst blocking team in the league as well at 1.28 blocks per set.... as a team. Right. Probably worth pointing out here that MU is the second best hitting team (.247) and the second best in opponents' hitting percentage (.200), too.
In any case, Alyssa Sinnette is seventh in the Big East in kills at 3.57. They do have two more regulars averaging more than two kills per set, so that's working in their favor. Freshman Paige McKnight handles the setting duties, but she's averaging just a shade under 10 helpers per frame. Kenzie Higareda rounds out the trio of freshmen leading the way for GU with 4.64 digs per stanza, 3rd best in the Big East right now.
Big East Match #7: at Creighton (11-7, 5-0 Big East)
When: Sunday, October 11, 2015, at 1pm Central
Where: D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha, NE
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network has your video stream via Fox Sports Go, and there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB
Here's what I find weird about the Jays: Jess Bird isn't leading her team in any category. The seemingly obvious choice as Big East Preseason Player of the Year is third on her team in kills, fourth in hitting percentage amongst their four primary attackers, second in digs, and she's ninth in blocks. I suppose it's a good thing for Creighton to have someone as talented as Bird providing some all around game on the floor. It's just weird to see, y'know?
Freshman Jaali Winters is proving to be a revelation for Creighton on offense, ranking fourth in the Big East in kills at 3.73/set while hitting a solid .231. Lauren Smith is trailing right behind her at 2.73, but it's the 1.24 blocks per frame where Smith stands out, as that's the second best mark in the conference. I have no idea what Creighton is doing at setter, but Kenzie Crawford (9.72 assists) has played in 39 of Creighton's 66 sets, while Maggie Baumert (10.00 assists) has gotten into 30 sets. That's an increase of 10 for Crawford and 9 for Baumert since the start of Big East play, so throw a dart and guess as to who will play against Marquette.
Creighton has won six straight and seven of their last eight coming into the weekend, where they'll host DePaul on Friday before welcoming in Marquette on Sunday. Yes, they obviously had a rough go of it in non-conference play before turning it on in the Big East. All of this is easily explained when you realize that the Bluejays played five of their 13 non-conference matches against ranked opponents and went 1-4 in those games. They're still the favorite to win the league and they've definitely proven that through their first five matches.