Marquette volleyball went 2-0 on a trip out east over the weekend, picking up a 3-2 (23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 30-32, 15-8) victory over St. John’s on Friday and a 3-1 (25-8, 21-25, 25-14, 25-17) win over Seton Hall on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are now 15-4 overall on the season and 5-2 in league play. That has them in a tie for second place in the Big East with DePaul and oh hey look who MU is playing next week Saturday.
Marquette won with outstanding performances from two players in opposite facets of the game. Taylor Louis averaged 4.88 kills per set in the two matches while hitting .291 and chipping in just over two digs per set. Meanwhile, if you told me at some point in the next week that Jenna Rosenthal is threatening to block out the sun, I’d believe you. The redshirt sophomore recorded a career high 26 blocks against St. John’s before stuffing another 10 attacks against Seton Hall. That’s an average of 2.89 per set. Your national leader for the season right now is Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli who is at...... 1.85/set in 59 sets. Rosenthal in nine sets against two teams: 2.89. Yeah, she was that good.
Things did not get off to the best start for Marquette on the weekend, as St. John’s withstood a late 5-1 Golden Eagles run to take the first set, 25-21. That put MU behind the eight-ball a little bit, and SJU taking a 6-3 lead in the second on a block by Margherita Bianchin and Danisha Moss put them a little further behind it.
From there, though, the rest of the second and almost all of the third were tilted heavily in favor of Marquette as they took a 2-1 lead in the match. St. John’s saved their biggest fight for the fourth set, as they sat on the precipice of defeat. The biggest lead in the entire set was just three points, and that came late when St. John’s was up 21-18. Believe it or not, Marquette then swung the next five points in a row to take a 23-21 lead on a kill from Louis, but they were unable to close out the set. That led to the permanent state of drama of extra points. Marquette got to set point twice, then fended off set point for the Johnnies five times before finally falling 32-30.
That meant it was time for the worst thing in sports: a fifth set. I won’t bore you with my usual rant about the oddity of playing to 25 four times without settling on a victor, then only playing to 15 to break that tie, but let’s just all admit that’s goofy at best. In any case, Marquette came out livid about not closing out St. John’s when they had a chance in the fourth, and jumped out to an 8-3 lead. There wasn’t much that the Red Storm could do about things at that point, and when they finished the frame with a hitting percentage of -.077, Marquette had picked up the 3-2 win.
You can check out highlights of the match right here.
24 hours later, Marquette was just a bit to the east in South Orange to face the Pirates. They were apparently a little fired up from the five set win the night before and blitzed Seton Hall in the opening frame. Given the variables involved in the physics of volleyball, it’s essentially impossible to shut a team out for an entire set. You’re going to miss an attack long, a block is going to go astray. It happens. What you don’t see very often is a team holding their opponent to single digits, and that’s exactly what happened in the first set. A 9-0 run capped off by a Rosenthal kill did most of the damage, giving MU an 11-2 lead, and then a few “small” 4-0 blasts did the rest of the work. Seton Hall didn’t take kindly to that Volleyball Shutout, and they fired back to take a hard fought second set and even things at intermission.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the third and used a 6-2 run to boost their lead to 15-6. From there it was pretty much academic as both teams scored eight times and give MU the easy win. An 8-5 run doesn’t seem like a “run,” but when it turns the fourth set from 13-10 favoring MU to a 21-15 lead, it certainly does give things a bit of finality. Marquette only allowed the Pirates to hit over .125 in the second set, and that made all the difference as the Golden Eagles hit .302 as a team in the match.
The big news of the weekend is that Sara Blasier now has one of the 10 best assist totals in Marquette history. With 48 assists against St. John’s, she went rolling past Jenny Binfield into 10th place all time, and another 38 helpers vs Seton Hall pushed her into 9th place all-time with 1,879 assists. That puts her past Sarah Vernon and her 1,854 assists and within shouting distance of Kristin Kemmeter at 1,908.
Up Next: Marquette will look to make it four in a row when they return home on Wednesday night. Butler (13-9, 2-4 Big East) will be in the building riding a three match losing streak.