I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Marquette volleyball issue the kind of one-sided asskicking that they handed out to Providence on Friday night. MU beat the Friars in straight sets, but that’s not surprising. The scores for the sets are, though: 25-13, 25-10, and 25-10, and honestly, they shouldn’t have been that close.
In the preview for this weekend’s matches, I offered up the possibility that this match might not be that interesting to watch. Coming in, Providence had the best hitting defense in the Big East, holding opponents to just .180, while Marquette was #2 at .181. The possibility for the two sides to negate each other was there, at least in theory. What ended up happening was Marquette hit a ridiculous .359 in the match while never dipping below .300 in any of the three sets while holding Providence to - and this is not a joke - a hitting percentage of .000. For three whole sets. Yep. 16 kills and 16 errors on 99 attacks gives you a hitting percentage of flat nothing.
It was clear from the get-go that Marquette was not fooling around. The Golden Eagles hit .425 in the opening frame and star outside hitting Taylor Louis knocked down eight kills. It almost seemed like Louis knew she had an outside shot to hit 1,000 career kills this weekend and was determined to fit in as many strikes as she could into whatever little time it took to defeat Providence. MU used a 7-0 run in the early going to wipe away Providence’s only lead of the night at 4-3 and seize control of the evening.
As much as Marquette was easily in control of the opening frame, things went even better in the second. An 8-2 lead turned into 12-3, which turned into 22-6. Honestly, there’s no reason why PC should have gotten to 10 points in this one, but Marquette errors - a service error, a bad set, and an attack error - were responsible for three of Providence’s four late points to avoid a single digit skunking.
After a little bit of back and forth in the very early parts of the third, MU roared out to a 10-3 lead which eventually turned into an 18-6 lead. That 18th point of the set for Marquette was created by one of the best scramble recovery efforts I’ve seen from the Golden Eagles. While carrying an 11 point lead against a team that they’re already throttling, Lauren Houg and Madeline Mosher made diving efforts to keep the ball alive before Meghan Niemann used a backwards bump from out of bounds to send it back across the net. PC returned the volley, and Marquette set up Louis for a rocket shot straight down the middle for her match high 15th kill of the night. MU had one last opportunity for a skunking on Providence, but a PC block and a MU service error shoved the Friars across the line into double digits late.
With such a quick match and head coach Ryan Theis dipping into his bench liberally, it’s pretty impressive that Louis managed to hit 15 kills on the night. That raises her season average up to 4.45 per set on the season and leaves her 24 kills away from 1,000 in her career.
Niemann had a solid statistical night, recording six kills on 10 error free swings, two aces, one dig, and three assisted blocks. Those three blocks push her up to 427 total blocks in her career, leaving her just four away from Rabbecka Gonyo for the second most in program history and six away from Martha Mayer’s program record.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com? The crazy effort from Houg, Mosher, and Niemann followed by the Louis kill starts at the 52 second mark.
Check out great highlights from tonight's sweep over Providence:https://t.co/9XARUtsvhQ— Marquette Volleyball (@MarquetteVB) October 22, 2016
Up Next: Tonight at the Al McGuire Center, Marquette welcomes first place Creighton. The Bluejays are 9-0 in Big East play after ripping through DePaul on Friday night in straight sets. Marquette sits at 8-2, and their faint hopes of a Big East regular season title pretty much hinge on being able to snap a six match losing streak against Creighton.