Powered by a match high 13 kills from Taylor Louis and the enthusiasm of over 1,000 local area schoolchildren on Kids’ Day, Marquette beat Xavier in straight sets on Wednesday afternoon, 25-20, 25-20, and 26-24. MU moves to 13-4 overall on the season and 3-2 in Big East matches.
A year ago, Xavier handed Marquette a home loss in their first match of the Big East season, and it seems the Musketeers are comfortable playing in the McGuire Center as they started this match off keeping things close with the Golden Eagles. A kill from Meghan Niemann followed by Niemann extending her program record for assisted blocks by partnering up with Sara Blasier to stuff XU’s Kristen Massa jumpstarted the Golden Eagles offense. Those two points snapped a 15-15 tie in the first set, and from there, Marquette closed out the frame on a 8-5 burst.
The second set was more of the same, with Xavier taking a 14-11 lead midway through on a kill from star hitter Abbey Bessler. Marquette tightened the set up, though, and after a Louis attack error knotted the match at 20, the Golden Eagles scored the next five points to turn it in their favor.
It looked like Marquette came out of intermission determined to put the third set away early. MU took a 6-1 lead on a Blasier service ace and maintained that lead at 12-7 a little later on. Back came the Musketeers, using a 4-1 run to narrow the gap, then a 5-1 blast to take a 22-21 lead. The Golden Eagles ended up needing to fend off set point at 24-23 on a kill by Louis, took a lead on an error by Bessler, then finally closed out the Musketeers on a kill by Allie Barber.
The star of the match for Marquette was Louis, and Niemann’s 10 kill, 2 dig, 3 block outing was pretty good, too. What can’t be overlooked is Jenna Rosenthal’s performance, where she did a little bit of everything for MU. Seven kills on 11 error free swings for a hitting percentage of .636, two assists, two aces, three digs, and four blocks (2 assisted, 2 solo). The redshirt sophomore is a one-woman soul crushing experience. How are you supposed to mount some kind of attack against Marquette when they have a 6’6” pogo stick out there in the middle of the court?
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette takes to the road this weekend, heading out to New York and New Jersey for a pair of matches. They’ll see St. John’s (11-7, 2-3 Big East) on Friday evening before heading to South Orange to face Seton Hall (9-9, 3-2) on Saturday night.