There’s no other way around it: With a 3-1 loss to Xavier on Saturday evening, Marquette wrapped up the regular season with losses in two of their final three matches of the season. Yes, they finish with an overall record of 23-7 overall and 13-5 in Big East games. That’s enough to give them the #2 seed in the Big East tournament which gets started this coming Friday in Indianapolis. With those losses to St. John’s and Xavier, which, by the way, finished with the #3 seed and will face MU in the tournament semifinals, there’s no way to feel comfortable about Marquette’s postseason future.
The Golden Eagles hit at least .300 in three of the four sets against the Musketeers on Saturday, but still ended up taking the 3-1 loss. That sounds weird, sure, but what doesn’t sound great is letting Xavier hit .350 in the first and .500 - FIVE HUNDRED - in the fourth. XU got 15 kills on just 24 attacks in order to seal the victory, which is probably not the most encouraging thing in the world for Marquette when they have to turn around and play the Musketeers in the very next match.
We should probably talk about Friday night’s win over Butler before throwing all of the wet blankets all over everything in sight. The Golden Eagles dropped the first set, 25-22, before taking the next three, 25-20, 25-20, and 25-22 for the match victory. You’re not going to see a lot of sets where a team hits .302 and loses, but that’s what happened to MU in the opener. Marquette fell behind 20-14 because they committed two of their four errors in the frame in rapid fashion, and then they weren’t able to recover enough to win. MU got out to a four point lead early in the second set, then just held Butler at bay for the rest of the way, holding BU to a .026 hitting percentage to knot things at one set apiece at the break.
Marquette came out of the locker room after intermission on a mission, jumping out to a 10-4 lead and eventually building that to 18-11 on a kill from Taylor Louis. The Bulldogs came back a little bit, cutting the lead to just two points late, but they committed two errors around a Louis kill to end that one in favor of Marquette. The fourth set started to look like things would head to a fifth when Butler went up 19-15 on a kill from Briana Lilly. That’s when Marquette went on a 9-2 run capped by two aces from Jenna Rosenthal to put them at match point before one final error from the Bulldogs gave MU the win.
With 47 kills over the weekend, Taylor Louis moved up to #5 on the single season kills list with 503 this year. Over in the passing department, Sara Blasier moved into sixth place all time in Marquette history with 2,331 assists. Barring Marquette going on the craziest postseason run in program history, she’s not going to get the 300 assists she’ll need to catch Nikki Klingsporn for fifth place, but hey, that’s okay. This is only Blasier’s second season with the Golden Eagles, and it’s a pretty great accomplishment to get as far as she has.
Up Next: It’s time for the aforementioned Big East tournament. Butler is hosting the event, even though the Bulldogs will not qualify for it. I’m going to guess that tickets at Hinkle Fieldhouse will be readily available if you want to head to Indianapolis next weekend. The semifinals will be on Friday with Marquette facing Xavier in one, and regular season champion Creighton facing the #4 seed, which is yet to be determined. Oddly enough, Creighton controls who the fourth seed will be, as Villanova needs to defeat the Bluejays on Sunday in order to steal the spot away from Seton Hall.
Times for the semifinals on November 25th have yet to be determined, and the same goes for the championship match on Saturday.