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Marquette Volleyball Weekend Preview: at Villanova & at Georgetown

The Golden Eagles have three goals for the rest of the season. One can be crossed off this weekend.

North Carolina v Villanova Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Ok. So.

Marquette got swept by Creighton in the season series. 3-0 and 3-1, with MU only taking one set in the match in Milwaukee last weekend. As we head into another weekend of action, Creighton sits in first place at 10-0 with Marquette trailing in second place at 8-3. Since Creighton has played and beaten everyone in league play (except Providence, but let’s face it: the Friars are 1-9 against everyone else), odds of them throwing three losses up in their final eight are pretty much non-existent. Thus, the same goes for Marquette’s chances at even a share at the regular season title.

That means the Golden Eagles have three goals for the rest of the regular season:

  1. Qualify for the Big East tournament
  2. Qualify for the NCAA tournament
  3. Avenge their loss to Villanova

There’s not much they can do definitively about #1 and #2 this weekend. Obviously putting two wins up on the board will go a long way towards helping both, but neither item can be locked in.

They can, however, avenge their only non-Creighton loss of league play by dropping the Wildcats on Friday night. It probably won’t be easy given how well Villanova has played against Marquette over the past two seasons, but you don’t get into competitive sports in college to have an easy time of it, either.

Taylor Louis Watch: The redshirt sophomore is about to swing her way into history. With her eighth kill of the weekend, which will presumably happen sometime in the second set against Villanova, Taylor Louis will record her 1,000th career kill. Odds are that she won’t get another 61 kills before Saturday night is over, so she’s still a little ways off from Marquette’s all time career top 10. There’s a lot of volleyball left to be played this season, though, and again, Louis is a sophomore.

Sara Blasier Watch: Marquette’s senior setter moved past 2,000 career assists last weekend against Providence. 35 more helpers against Creighton got her to 2,038 for her career at Marquette and moves her within striking distance of 7th place all time. She needs 49 more assists this weekend to catch Mary Donohue (1984-1986) at 2,087. Sixth place means at least another 200 assists, but that’s for another time.

Lauren Houg Watch: She can’t catch Julie Jeziorowski for the career digs mark, but Houg can chase her own single season mark of 641 digs, which she had just last season. She’s at 414 right now, which is good enough for the 12th best season in program history. Keelyn Krill is 11th at 419, Jamie Mueller is 10th at 423, and Erin Freer is 9th at 427. All are easily reachable this weekend, and Krill’s mark for the 8th best season at 440 isn’t totally out of the question.

Big East Match #12: at Villanova (15-8, 6-4 Big East)

When: Friday, October 28, 2016, at 6pm CT
Where: Nevin Field House in Villanova, PA
Audio/Visual: Villanova’s going to make you pay for a video stream, but there’s free live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Marquette is now 12-3 all time against Villanova with a 1-2 record in the last three meetings.

Since We Last Met: The Wildcats have gone 3-2 since the match in Milwaukee, which kind of flushes any kind of goodwill you’d have about losing to them in the first place. In their defense, one loss was to Creighton. The other one was to Butler, and the Bulldogs aren’t even over .500 in league play.

Villanova’s chances of a second straight NCAA tournament appearance are kind of going up in smoke as a result of their recent play. Their RPI is down to #62, which is waaaaaaay past the cutline in a 64 team tournament. This is disappointing to Marquette fans on a number of levels. They’re dragging Marquette’s RPI down with them thanks to that win in Milwaukee earlier this season, and second, they’re dragging down the entire conference. With Marquette and Creighton firmly planted in the footprint of the Big Ten, an incredibly dominant volleyball conference, they need as much help as possible when it comes to seeding for the NCAA tournament. Having the rest of the Big East shuffle around beneath them in the standings isn’t helping anyone.

In the first match between these two teams, Marquette did a good job controlling Allie Loitz. She’s currently ranked third in the Big East in kills, but she hit just .159 in Milwaukee. Marquette’s problem came when they couldn’t also limit Claire Crutchfield (17 kills, .419) and Amanda Pedersen-Henry (10 kills, .391). Villanova plays defense by committee with no player averaging more than Regan Lough’s 3.77 digs per set, and in the earlier meeting this season, five different players averaged at least three digs in the match. MU will have to find ways to put the ball on the floor around the VU defense in order to leave the Main Line with a win.

Big East Match #13: at Georgetown (6-17, 2-8 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 5pm CT
Where: McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C.
Audio/Visual: Georgetown will make you pay for a video stream, but there’s free live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

The Golden Eagles have a 12-4 lifetime record against Georgetown. MU has won the last nine contests in the series.

Since We Last Met: The Hoyas went 1-5, with their only victory coming against - you guessed it - Providence. Bad form, Hoyas.

This team continues to disappoint me. Last year, they had three freshmen finish in the Big East’s top five in the three key stats: kills, assists, and digs. This year, Alyssa Sinnette has dropped down to 6th in kills, but Kenzie Higareda is fourth in digs and Paige McKnight is fourth in assists. That’s basically the same, or close enough to it to make my point here, but Georgetown is awful.

They’re one of two teams hitting under .200 and one of three teams allowing opponents to hit better than .220. Ninth in the league in kills, ninth in assists, ninth in aces, last in blocks...... they’ve just got nothing going for them.

Part of their problem is that they have almost no height to speak of. Symone Speech is their only regular who clears six feet tall. Compare that to Marquette who runs out an attacking lineup where Madeline Mosher could be nicknamed “Tiny” at only six feet even. When Marquette goes big with 6’5” Allie Barber and 6’6” Jenna Rosenthal at the net, the Hoyas don’t stand a chance of even getting the ball over to Marquette’s side in any kind of effective manner.