Marquette took a 2-0 lead on Butler on Wednesday night, but got pushed to a fifth set by the Bulldogs before getting a 3-2 (25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 15-11) win. MU moves to 16-4 overall and 6-2 in Big East play, while Butler drops to 13-10 and 2-5.
Taylor Louis led all attackers with 20 kills on the night, which means that her season long average actually dipped down to just 4.45 per set. While it was an “off” night for Louis, she was backed up by her squad as three more Golden Eagles tallied at least 12 kills on the evening. Meghan Niemann hit .542 on 24 attacks and Allie Barber recorded a .385 hitting percentage on 26 attacks to power MU to hit .268 on the evening.
The first two sets had a similar theme to them. The early part was relatively close, as these things tend to go, and then Marquette pushed away in the middle to roll to relatively simple victories. In the first set, it was an 8-2 run capped off by a kill from Niemann that turned a 7-7 tie into a 15-9 Marquette lead. The second set was knotted at 14 after an ace from Butler’s Jade York. York handed that point right back on a service error to jumpstart a 5-0 run to give Marquette a 19-14 lead before the two teams traded points down the stretch to give MU a 2-0 lead at intermission.
I pointed this out in the preview for this match: Butler’s not a bad team relative to their record, they’ve just gotten stung with some poorly timed losses lately. When Marquette was hitting over .260 in the first two sets, they were going to be able to get past a team like Butler. When Marquette started hitting below .190 as they did in the final two sets, that gave Butler the opportunity to climb back into the match, and that’s what they did. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-4 lead early, and played hide & seek with Marquette for the rest of the match. MU cut the deficit to one at 12-11, but Butler ran off the next three and Marquette never challenged again in the frame.
The fourth set was a much tighter affair. Yes, Butler went up a little bit early, but Marquette answered to make it 12-10 in their favor and then Butler snagged the next four points to swing it back in their direction. 14-12 Butler turned into 17-15 Marquette and it started to look like Marquette was going to be able to fend off the Bulldogs and end this in four. Louis made it 21-19, but the Golden Eagles would manage just one more point and that sent it to a decisive (and yet absurd) fifth set.
A 3-0 Marquette early led led to a Butler timeout. The pause didn’t affect the Golden Eagles, as they ran it out to 8-3 to force the change in sides of the court. Apparently one side of the court was luckier than the other as the Bulldogs promptly went on a 6-2 run to make it a one point match. MU pushed forward and kills by Louis and Jenna Rosenthal closed it out.
Senior setter Sara Blasier now has the 8th most assists in Marquette history. Her 55 helpers against Butler pushed her past Kristen Kemmeter at 1,908 and up to 1,934 for her career. Her next milestone will have to wait a while, as Blasier needs another 154 assists to move into 7th place.
Speaking of milestones, Lauren Houg is #2 on the all-time digs list for Marquette. She recorded 30 more digs against Butler when she only needed 14 to surpass Jamie Mueller at 1,567. Houg’s now at 1,584, but sadly, she’s going to stay in second place regardless of what happens the rest of the season. Because Houg barely played as a freshman, she has no chance of catching Julie Jeziorowski’s four year total of 2,209. To give you an idea of how far away Jeziorowski is from Houg right now: Houg holds the single season record for digs at 641, but she needs 625 from right now going forward just to catch Jeziorowski.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com & MUTV?
Up Next: It’s a short weekend for the Golden Eagles with an easy road trip in front of them. They’ll take on DePaul on Saturday in Chicago, and because the Blue Demons are MU’s travel partner, that’ll be the only match they play this weekend. DePaul is 11-9 overall and 5-3 in league play after losing to Xavier in four sets on Wednesday night.