St. John’s committed 17 attack errors, four service errors, eight service reception errors, and four ball handling errors as Marquette volleyball whipsawed through the Red Storm 25-19, 25-15, and 25-14 on Friday evening.
Marquette moves to 16-7 overall and 10-2 in the Big East. Creighton (10-1) defeated Providence in Rhode Island on Friday as well, keeping the Golden Eagles half a game back of the Bluejays in the league standings.
Here’s how gracious St. John’s was as hosts: They were so good at handing Marquette points, Allie Barber finished with just 11 kills in the match. The sophomore from Cedarburg came into the match averaging 4.96 per set this season, but the Red Storm’s generosity kept her under four per set here and lowered her average to 4.91/set. Don’t worry, Barber still holds the Big East’s lead in kills, as it was St. John’s Julia Cast in second place at 3.97/set before the match. The Golden Eagles limited Cast to just eight kills, so her average went backwards as well.
For all serious purposes, Marquette was only ever threatened by St. John’s on two occasions in the entire match. The first one was in the first set, as the Red Storm took a 5-3 lead early on a kill by Jordan McCalla. MU ripped off the next seven points, capped by an ace by Martha Konovodoff, and found themselves with a five point lead. That lead blossomed out to six at 13-7 on a kill by Anna Haak, and St. John’s spent most of the set trying to drift closer to the Golden Eagles. It got within two at 21-19, but MU got two kills, a block, and a handling error by St. John’s to close it out.
The second major threat came in the early stages of the second set. Marquette had jumped out to a 7-2 lead with a mix of kills and errors by the Johnnies. St. John’s mustered a prolonged attack and pulled even at seven on a kill by Danisha Moss. That tie was answered by two kills from Jenna Rosenthal and a strike from Haak, and MU was back up 10-7. Eight points later, the set was at 16-9, and you can see how this went from there.
The third set was pretty much all Golden Eagles from the get-go. MU opened up with the first three points of the frame, and then pushed the lead to 6-2 on a kill by freshman Hope Werch. St. John’s had their worst hitting stanza of the match here, hitting -.029 while posting seven kills against eight errors on 35 swings. At 18-13 it looked like maybe this could be competitive, but Marquette put the pedal to the metal and closed out the set and the match on a 7-1 run.
It was a soft day for Golden Eagles stats all around, as Barber’s 11 led the team and only Werch climbed into double digit kills with her at 10. Lauren Speckman was way off her usual sterling assist numbers with 28, but hey, how many assists can you really rack up when the team only has 42 kills? On top of that, it would appear that head coach Ryan Theis gave Speckman a bit of a break in two sets, inserting freshman setter Sarah Rose. This isn’t surprising, given the sleeve that Speckman wears on her right calf and the tape job on her right wrist that she picked up last weekend against Butler. Elsewhere in low stats, Konovodoff had just 10 digs to lead the team, well off her season pace of over four per set. Speckman and Haak both contributed nine digs to the match, so the spread out did help keep things off Konovodoff’s desk as well.
One stat that wasn’t low on the day was Jenna Rosenthal’s blocks. The redshirt junior from Fond du Lac recorded six assisted blocks on the day, giving her 81 on the season and 342 in her career. She needs just three more to tie Jenn Brown for fourth most in program history. Because I know you’re wondering: Rosenthal is 70 away from the record, set by Meghan Niemann last season.
Up Next: As always with volleyball, it’s a quick turnaround for the Golden Eagles. They’ll head across the Hudson River for a 6pm Central start against Seton Hall on Saturday night. The Pirates (14-11, 8-4 Big East) have won four of their last five matches including a Friday night sweep of DePaul, and the only loss in that run was on the road against Creighton.