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Marquette Women’s Volleyball Weekend Preview: vs Georgetown & vs Villanova

The Golden Eagles return to the friendly confines of the McGuire Center with an eye on making a move up the league standings.

Syracuse v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Ok. So MU lost to Creighton in Omaha last weekend. No big deal.

It was just the third loss of the year for the Golden Eagles, and given that the Jays are the favorite to win the Big East this season, it’s not like this is going to ruin Marquette’s chances at their sixth straight NCAA tournament this season. What it does mean, though, is that we’re going to circle the return bout in Milwaukee on October 22nd on the calendar as a key date on the schedule.

If Marquette wants to win the Big East regular season title, they can’t lose between now and October 22nd. With five home matches and just three road jaunts between now and then, odds are that MU should be favored to win each time they play. But they can’t lose. Marquette needs to get to the rematch with Creighton without dropping another game in the standings. They will need to at least be able to pull even with CU by beating them in Milwaukee, and if Creighton would happen to drop a match between now and then, that would give Marquette the upper hand.

But Marquette can’t lose a match in order for that to happen. No pressure, ladies.

Big East Match #3: vs Georgetown (5-11, 1-2 Big East)

When: Friday, September 30, 2016, at 7pm CT
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com has a free video stream, plus there’s live stats.
Special Promotion: 90s Night! Free fanny packs for the 1st 200 students, & best 90s-esque outfits will win prizes! Also: pizza, Gushers, & Ring Pops, and 90s music all night long.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB & @HoyaVolleyball

This will be the 16th all time meeting between Marquette and Georgetown, with the Golden Eagles holding an 11-4 advantage. MU has won the last eight matches against the Hoyas, and have won 20 straight sets as well.

Georgetown disappoints me, and that’s saying something.

The Hoyas haven’t finished a season over .500 since 2011, when they went 14-12. They haven’t had more than 10 wins in a season since then, and this year isn’t looking good for them, either. That’s not the disappointing part, although given that it’s GEORGETOWN, you could make a case for it.

No, this specific iteration of the Hoyas is disappointing to me. Last year, Georgetown obviously struggled their way to a 10-21 overall record and a 4-14 record in the Big East. However, they had three freshmen at three key spots on the court who were in the top five in the league in their stat category. Alyssa Sinnette (3.58) was 5th in kills, Paige McKnight (9.8) was fourth in assists, and Kenzie Higareda (4.69) was #3 in digs. All three are back in the top five again this season as sophomores, with Sinnette and McKnight improving on their numbers from last year, and it means absolutely nothing for the Hoyas. Obviously they can’t do everything themselves, but when half the players you have on the court are amongst the leaders in the Big East, you’d think it would turn into better results on the court.

Big East Match #4: vs Villanova (11-5, 2-1 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016, at 6pm CT
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com has a free video stream, plus there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB & @novavolleyball

Marquette has a 12-2 all time record against Villanova with one of the losses coming last season in Pennsylvania.

It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that Marquette dropped a match to the Wildcats last year. Villanova made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997, which means A) They were good and B) beating Marquette helped them get into the tournament.

VU seemed to be back on track to compete for a postseason spot this year. Sure, they didn’t do all that much in the non-conference part of the schedule, but they had only one home match. That’ll give a boost to the ol’ RPI down the road, although it would have been nicer to have high quality opponents along the way as well.

I say “seemed” because their loss in Big East play is to Georgetown. Yes, the same Georgetown team that I just poked at wondering why they aren’t better. Yes, the same Georgetown team that has only won four other matches this season. Making that loss even worse is the fact that it was a home loss for the Wildcats, which may end up completely scuttling whatever RPI benefit that they got from all those road/neutral matches against sub-150 teams.

The Wildcats do have two players in the top seven in the Big East in kills. Allie Loitz (3.84/set) is third, while Claire Crutchfield (3.14) is seventh. As you might expect, that kind of production from their top two hitters is turning freshman setter Emma Decker into a rookie whiz, as she’s leading the Big East in assists and ranks 7th in the country with 11.51 assists per set. Nova plays defense by committee, with no one averaging more than four digs, but three players, including Loitz, ranking in the top 15 in the conference in that category.