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Marquette Volleyball’s Big East Title Chances Are Only Hopes After 3-1 Loss to Creighton

On the upside: The Golden Eagles have a brand new career blocks leader.

Marquette women's volleyball
MU lost to Creighton, but Meghan Niemann (#7) broke the program record for total career blocks.

Marquette volleyball dropped a 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19) decision to first place Creighton Saturday night. The Golden Eagles drop to 8-3 in Big East action, while the Bluejays advance to an unbeaten 10-0.

The fact of the matter is that this will probably end Marquette’s chances of even sharing the Big East regular season title with Creighton. It’s mathematically possible, of course, as the Jays still have eight matches to play and certainly could lose three of them. It’s not likely, though, as they have now won 18 straight matches against Big East foes, with the last loss coming on the road against Villanova last October.

That’s fine. Marquette is still in prime placement to secure a Big East tournament spot. They have leads on third place Xavier (7-4) and fourth place Villanova (6-4), and fifth place DePaul is two full games behind MU at 6-5. They’ve got space to work with as they go through their final seven matches of the regular season, which will include matches against all three of their closest competitors for the tournament berths.

On top of that, Marquette is still looking good for a spot in the NCAA tournament if it comes down to needing an at-large bid. As of October 18th, MU was ranked #30 in the NCAA’s official RPI calculations, and the match against #27 Creighton should help things wander a little bit up the chart. Beating #218 Providence was probably less helpful, though.

As for the actual goings-on in the match against Creighton, it was the tightly contested game that you’d expect when the second place team hosts the first place team. Marquette took a 25-23 win in the first set where neither side could manage more than a five point margin either way. A late 5-1 burst by the Golden Eagles gave them a 21-18 lead and they were able to hold on for what would turn into their only set victory on the night.

Creighton bounced back with a similar 25-23 win to knot things at 1-1 at the break. It almost wasn’t, though, as a 4-0 MU splash turned a 20-18 Creighton margin into a 22-20 Marquette lead. Jaali Winters scored the next two points for the Jays, though, and a block on Taylor Louis by CU’s Lydia Dimke and Marysa Wilkinson ended Marquette’s chances in the second.

MU seemed to be gaining control of the third set when Joy Miley put down a kill to make it 16-12, but - SURPRISE - Creighton fired back with five of the next six points to make it 17-all. Things were turning in CU’s favor as they took a 24-21 lead, but the Golden Eagles staved off set point three times on Creighton attack errors. An Ellen Hays ace followed by a Jenna Rosenthal solo block gave MU a 25-24 lead, but they couldn’t close it out. The Jays took the next three points for the 2-1 advantage.

The fourth set was nip and tuck all the way until a Brittany Witt service error pulled Marquette into a tie at 16 each. From there, though, it was almost all Bluejays, taking five of the next six points and closing out the match with four straight.

Taylor Louis had a strong night for Marquette, tallying 16 kills, 14 digs, and five blocks. With 31 kills in the past two nights, Louis now sits eight kills short of 1,000 in her career.

Speaking of career totals, Meghan Niemann recorded one solo block and six assisted blocks against Creighton. Those seven stuffs give Niemann 434 total blocks for her career, giving her Marquette’s all time record for total blocks. She surpasses Martha Mayer’s mark of 433, set from 1994-1997.

How about some highlights from the match, courtesy of Creighton Athletics:

Up Next: The Golden Eagles will be out on the east coast next weekend for a pair of matches. First up will be an attempt to avenge the lone non-Creighton loss in Big East play when they tangle with Villanova (15-8, 6-4 Big East) on Friday night.