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Marquette Volleyball Bounces Back With Two Wins On Saturday

Now I have no idea what to make of any of this.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

After falling short on a rally from a 0-2 hole on Friday, Marquette Volleyball bounced back with two wins on Saturday, including another five set thriller against Miami.

Instead of the "lose two, win two" pattern against Oral Roberts on Friday, Marquette won the middle frames on the way to a fifth and deciding frame on Saturday morning in Missouri.  The Golden Eagles started well, opening a 10-6 lead on the Hurricanes thanks to a kill from Taylor Louis.  Both teams had their offense flowing, with both sides hitting just over .370 in the opening frame, but Miami was able to sneak away and snag that 25th point first on a Hayley Templeton kill.  MU bounced back in the second, taking an 8-4 lead before Miami would snap back and lead as late as 21-18.  Kills from Louis and Meghan Niemann boosted a 4-0 run that sent Marquette back into the lead that they would maintain long enough to snag the win and even the match.

Coming out of intermission, things were fairly close.  Marquette had a 14-10 lead on a block by Jenna Rosenthal and Erin Lehman, but Miami took the next four points to knot the match back up.  Louis snagged the next point on a kill to give the Golden Eagles a lead that they wouldn't relinquish, but that doesn't mean it wasn't close.  It took Marquette grabbing five of the final seven points of the set to end with a 25-20 win.  With the chance to close out a good Miami team in front of them, Marquette put together their worst hitting set of the match, managing just .028 as Miami tied the match at 2.  25-18 doesn't sound like that bad of a score, but it was 12-4 and 19-6 before your Golden Eagles rattled off seven straight to make the score more presentable.

MU transferred their bad hitting to the Hurricanes in the fifth set, holding Miami to a flat zero of a hitting percentage with seven kills and seven errors.  Two of those errors helped swing the match from 7-6 Miami to 9-7 Marquette, and MU captured the win on an error as well.

Taylor Louis had a match high 27 kills, with Miami's Olga Strantzali close behind with 24.  Sara Blasier wasn't quite as stellar at setter as she has been, registering just 49 assists, but she also chipped in four kills and nine digs.

Post-match reactions from head coach Ryan Theis:

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After consecutive five set knock-down drag-out matches, Marquette had an "easier" time with Missouri State in Saturday's nightcap.  MU hit .325 as a team overall on their way to the 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24) win.  The Golden Eagles hit a totally bananas .500 in the first set as they jumped out to a 7-2 lead and never looked back.  The second set was closer, with Marquette unable to gain any separation until a 6-2 run made it 16-12 midway through the frame.  Missouri State would tighten things up and draw within one at 18-17 on a Lynsey Wright kill, but they couldn't tie it up and MU escaped with the 25-23 win.

The third set got away from Marquette, and I don't just mean that final score that favored MSU.  After Joy Miley tied it up at seven apiece, the Bears rattled off five straight to seem to take control of the match.  But Marquette had their own run in them, rattling off six straight to take the lead at 15-14.  The effort didn't stick, though, and Missouri State reasserted themselves with a 4-0 run and held on to force a fourth frame.

The two teams had each other figured out at that point, as the fourth set was tied on 18 different occasions.  Marquette took a two point lead at three different points, but wasn't able to manage any more.  It took extra points to put that one away, as Miley and Niemann bounced back from Missouri State defeating their first crack at match point to close it out at 26-24.

Louis was the star again, posting a career best 30 kills.  It took her 62 attacks, though, and yes, that hitting percentage of .339 here and .275 overall this season is pretty good.  I continue to be concerned about Louis' workload, though, as she's taken nearly 39% of Marquette's attacks this season, with Erin Lehman trailing behind her in second place at just 17%.  It's working, obviously, but this is the kind of thing that can suddenly short circuit a team if Louis isn't playing well.

Post-match reactions from head coach Ryan Theis:

Up Next: It's another weekend on the road for the Golden Eagles, as they'll be out in Laramie, Wyoming for the Pistol Pete Showdown, hosted by Wyoming.  In addition to the host Cowgirls (5-1), they'll also play Northern Colorado (2-3) and Kansas (6-0).  Both Wyoming and Kansas were getting votes in the most recent AVCA poll, so that should be two chances for quality wins for Marquette.