On Friday night, Marquette volleyball let a late lead in the first set slip away and never recovered on their way to a 3-0 (27-25, 25-19, 25-19) loss to the first place Creighton Bluejays. The Golden Eagles bounced back from that loss with a three set victory of their own (25-22, 25-15, 25-17) over Georgetown for Senior Night on Saturday.
We looked like we were in for a good one on Friday night, as Creighton and Marquette battled back and forth through the first set. A late 4-2 burst from Marquette powered by two kills from Taylor Louis pushed the Marquette lead to 24-22 and had the Golden Eagles on the brink of a 1-0 lead, as well as taking a set from the Jays for the first time in the last seven sets. But Creighton staved off defeat as Joy Miley and then Louis registered attack errors to tie the match at 24. Meghan Niemann had an error of her own, and suddenly CU was up by one. The Jays returned the error to knot it back at 25, but errors by Miley and Louis handed the set to Creighton.
Marquette never recovered from letting that slip away from them. Creighton took a 10-5 lead in the second on an error by Sara Blasier, and eventually built that up to 20-13 on their way to the win in the second set. Marquette did lead 12-10 in the third on a block by Jenna Rosenthal and Teal Schnurr, but Creighton started scoring two points then allowing Marquette one to slowly build a lead before wrapping things up on a kill from Jaali Winters.
Louis finished with 14 kills on the night, but she also had 11 errors and ended up hitting .060. It's hard to win when someone who takes 50 swings in a three set match is having that kind of night. She was one of four Golden Eagles in double digits in digs, with Lauren Houg leading the way with 15. Winters was tops for Creighton with 14 kills, while Jess Bird had 13 to help power up the offense.
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Things turned around in a big way for the Golden Eagles the next night. After their teamwide issues connecting on kills against Creighton, MU never hit lower than .250 in any of their three sets against the Hoyas on Saturday, peaking at a nutty .395 in the third and final frame.
While their hitting was much better, things started to look dicey in the first set. MU did lead most of the way and late in the frame, Teal Schnurr hammered one to the floor to give Marquette a 21-15 lead. From there, the Hoyas went on a 7-1 run, where the only point that Marquette managed came off of a service error from Georgetown. It didn't seem like Georgetown could get this thing tied at 22, but that's where it ended up. But then: BOOM, Taylor Louis. BANG, handling error by Georgetown. BOOOOM, Niemann and Louis stuffing a Georgetown attack. 25-22, and that was that.
Here's how the second set went: Approximately when Marquette went up 17-10, I turned to MrsB and said "Hey, remember when this match was tied at five?" Are we surprised it ended 25-15? No, not really. The third set featured some drama, even though the Golden Eagles went up 17-5 quickly. Early in the set, junior setter Sara Blasier went to the bench and instead of standing up with her teammates, she sat down on the chairs along the sideline. She stayed there for a while before moving to a stationary bike for the remainder of the contest. We'll have to monitor this going forward.
The nice part about this is that it allowed Mary Nilles to get a little bit of extra PT on Senior Night. Playing in all three sets, the pride of Batavia, IL, finished her home career with two kills, 12 assists, a service ace, and two digs. Fellow senior Erin Lehman had 10 kills on 20 swings in her home finale and also chipped in an assisted block. Louis led the team with a match high 11 kills to push herself to 482 kills on the season, good for the sixth best season in Marquette history, and there's still four regular season matches remaining.
Up Next: Marquette currently sits in fourth place in the Big East. The three teams in front of them in the standings - Creighton, Xavier, and Villanova - have all clinched a spot in the Big East tournament, leaving just one final spot available. MU has a four match lead on 5th place Butler with four matches to play, so that spot is officially on the line when Marquette travels to St. John's (16-13, 6-8 Big East) on Saturday afternoon.