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Marquette Volleyball Preview: vs #12 Creighton Bluejays & vs Providence Friars

Marquette has its two biggest games of the season during these next two days as they take on the top 2 teams in the Big East.

NCAA Basketball: Butler at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here it is folks, the game I have been mentioning since the day I started writing all these volleyball previews. Creighton is coming to town ranked as the number 12 team in the country along with a tough Providence squad who sits third in the Big East behind Marquette and Creighton. Marquette is coming off a somewhat of a weird 3-0 win over DePaul, where the first set was kinda close at 25-19 and then second set was an absolute drubbing at 25-9 and the third set was a wild one where DePaul almost stole it, but Allie Barber said no, no, and took over to help the Golden Eagles win 30-28. Barber had 20 kills which helped her gain Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors for this week, her third such honor this season. Hope Werch was one kill away from a double-double, but she was recognized as the Big East Freshman of the Week for this past week. The Golden Eagles are now well rested and ready to compete in the biggest game of the season against the Creighton Bluejays.

Big East Match #6: vs Creighton Bluejays (11-4, 4-0)

Date: Thursday, October 5, 2017
Time: 7 PM CT
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, WI
TV: Spectrum Sports
Streaming:, but only if you’re a Spectrum customer.
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotions: Gold Out!!! EVERYONE WEAR GOLD. THIS MEANS YOU. Alumni, faculty, staff and of course students get in for free, while everyone else pays $1. Students in attendance can win a VIP package for Madness on Friday.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Alright folks, I have been waiting to write this preview for awhile and I am not gonna lie, I am kind of scared of what Creighton is capable of. All year I have been talking about how good Creighton was and how they were ranked as high as #9 in the country. They started off the season red hot until their setter, Lydia Dimke, got hurt in the game against Wichita St. in which they lost. This shows how important a setter is to a team (shoutout to the also apparently injured Lauren Speckman). They later lost to Iowa St. the following day without Dimke. The Bluejays rebounded in Big East play and have won their last four games. Marquette is currently on a six match winning streak and trying to make it seven.

What makes Creighton so scary is that they can hit the ball from anywhere on the floor. While that sounds silly, it’s true. The Bluejays have four players all with over 100 kills, but no one ranks higher than 10th in the Big East. Leading the team is Jaali Winters with 171 (3.29 k/s) and not far behind her is Taryn Kloth with 161 kills (3.10 k/s) and Marysa Wilkinson with 157 (3.02 k/s). Megan Ballenger has 112 kills (2.24 k/s) on the season as well. Winters is the go to target for Dimke as she has reached double digit kills in all but five of Creighton’s games. The Dimke/Winters combination has pretty much received any type of accolade in the Big East you can think of. Besides from being super accomplished, Winters was on the U.S. Women’s National Collegiate Team this past summer with Marquette’s own Jenna Rosenthal. Look for Rosenthal along with Allie Barber and Elizabeth Orf to try and stop Winters and Co.

As I stated earlier, setting for the Bluejays is Lydia Dimke. The 6-3 junior has 462 assists (10.74 a/s) on the season. In Creighton’s upset win over Washington she had a career high 47 assists. Dimke went down with an ankle injury in the game against Wichita St. and had to sit out the next two matches against Iowa St. and Georgetown. She returned from injury and has not disappointed, providing 43 assists in a win over Villanova.

Look, I am just as excited as anyone else is. This could be a landmark win for Ryan Theis and Co, as MU has lost seven straight matches to Creighton. Can you name the win? It was in the 2013 Big East championship match, and yes, that means that Theis has never beaten the Jays. The team is excited and the AL is going to be packed with screaming fans all in gold. With that, I think the match goes five sets, and Marquette takes it in the wild five set play to fifteen rule. The team is on a six game winning streak and they do not want to lose it. Marquette in five. Send it!

Big East Match #7: vs Providence Friars (13-6, 2-2)

Date: Friday, October 6, 2017
Time: 5 PM CT
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, WI
Live Stats: GameTracker
Ticketing Note: If you get a free wristband starting at 3:30pm to get into the volleyball match, you can stick around for Marquette Madness immediately afterwards.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Providence stands at 13-6 on the season and 2-2 in the Big East. The Friars started the season scorching hot, winning their first 11 matches. After that, it was kind of shaky as they lost their next four matches before opening Big East play with a win over Georgetown. Losers of their last two matches, the Friars look to come to Milwaukee to try and beat Marquette. But hey: it’s all gravy from here for PC, as they’ve already matched last year’s overall win total of 13 and surpassed their league win total of 1.

Leading the offense for Providence is Addison Root. The 6 foot outside hitter has 246 kills (3.67 k/s) on the season. She is the main target for this Providence offense as she provided 21 kills in their win over Villanova. Root sits second behind Allie Barber in the kills per set column for the Big East lead. Look for Jenna Rosenthal to keep an eye on her throughout the match.

Setting for the Friars is, wait for it...Allie Barber. How can a girl lead the Big East in kills for Marquette and set for Providence at the same time you ask? Well, she can’t. Providence’s Allie (ok, officially it’s Allison, but work with me here, people) Barber is a 5-11 freshman and has recorded 697 assists (10.50 a/s) on the season. Barber had 44 assists in the win over Villanova. Not to be biased or anything, but Marquette’s Allie Barber has to be the cooler Allie Barber right? Not many people can average almost five kills per set and rank in the top 10 in the country like Marquette’s Allie Barber.

This match can go three ways I think. One being that Marquette comes off a huge win over the ranked Bluejays, Theis gives his team the Herb Brooks in 1980 versus Finland speech, and they just keep playing amazing and steamroll Providence. Two being that Marquette comes off a huge win and kind of underestimates this Providence team and slips up a bit, and three being that Marquette coming off a loss will look for revenge the following day and shreds Providence like cheese. I’m hoping for the first option, but nonetheless I believe Marquette will win this match in four sets.