Marquette volleyball fell to #22 San Diego in straight sets on Sunday night, 25-20, 25-19, and 25-18. The loss drops the Golden Eagles to 1-2 on the season after the opening weekend of matches at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational.
This is a completely acceptable set of results.
With questions to be answered pretty much everywhere on the floor other than middle hitter, it was going to be a rough start to the season for Marquette, and that was before the AVCA put out their preseason poll. Once the poll came out and we knew that Marquette would be facing, in order, the #20, #13, and #22 teams in the top 25, well, at that point, going 0-for-3 on the opening weekend was a completely realistic result.
Instead, Marquette opened the season with a five set win over #20 Hawaii, and the Golden Eagles are off and running in 2017 with a little bit of house money in their pockets. They’re ahead of the game now, and that takes a little bit of the MUST WIN pressure off their backs over the next three weeks before Big East play starts on September 20th. They can’t get caught sleeping on anyone, of course, but the Hawaii win gives MU’s postseason profile a bit of a shine already.
And by the way: when the Big East is as bad of a volleyball conference as it is, no, it is not too early to be thinking about the season in this manner.
As for Sunday’s contest, Marquette played the Toreros close in the first set, but that output didn’t extend to sets two and three. The first set was tied as late as 17-all, but USD taking five of the final six points of the set made the difference. In sets two and three, San Diego slowly opened up a lead on Marquette and never let the Golden Eagles back in. The big stretch in the second was when an attack error from MU’s Hope Werch kickstarted a 10-3 run that left USD up 18-10 after a kill by Kaity Edwards. Marquette made a big push late, winning nine of the final 16 points, but it didn’t make a difference. The third and ultimately final set doesn’t have a story to go along with it as San Diego just kept advancing their lead until they ended up with the seven point win.
As you might expect, San Diego outhit Marquette fairly easily in this match, .311 to .182. Allie Barber, who did not start again, led Marquette in kills with 13 and attacks with 33. Lauren Speckman seems to be adjusting well to her role as full time setter, as she posted 31 assists and 10 digs for her first career double-double.
Up Next: Marquette is out on the road next weekend as well, just not as far away as Hawaii. Indianapolis is the destination, as MU will play three matches in two days in a tournament hosted by IUPUI. They’ll see Miami (OH) on Friday, followed by both Wichita State and IUPUI on Saturday.