The Marquette Golden Eagles are coming off a very good game of volleyball on Sunday afternoon. Although they lost to #13 Kentucky, MU played maybe their best volleyball all year. It was really unfortunate that UK’s Leah Edmond (26 kills) is kinda good at the whole spiking the ball thing. The match went four sets and each one was close, all decided by the minimum required two points. The Golden Eagles took the second set 26-24. Allie Barber again played out of her mind with 21 kills while Hope Werch had 12 and Jenna Rosenthal 10. Lauren Speckman had herself a day also with 55 assists. Kentucky did look like they were trying to give Marquette the game at some points, recording 14 service errors. The loss was an acceptable one given UK’s ranking. It would have been nice to take it from the Wildcats, but it will be fine: I already have the Creighton game marked on my calendar.
With Marquette sitting at 4-4 on the season and unable to capitalize on opportunities against Wichita State and Kentucky in the past 10 days, tonight’s contest is sneaky important. It’s one thing to lose matches to teams that are likely to qualify for the NCAA tournament in December. It’s a totally different thing to lose to teams who are picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League. The Golden Eagles need to secure this victory just to keep themselves on a positive track in terms of their postseason future.
Match #9: vs Milwaukee Panthers (7-3)
This is the 80th all-time meeting between Marquette and UWM. The Panthers hold the advantage in the series at 46-32-1. Yes, a tie. These things happen. While UWM has the all-time advantage, Marquette has dominated lately. The Golden Eagles have won the last 10 meetings and are currently on an 18 set winning streak dating back to 2012.
The UW-Milwaukee Panthers are off to a solid start this season as their record stands at 7-3. Although their record is better than Marquette’s, the Panthers have not played the best competition so far. The Panthers lost to South Dakota State, Virginia Tech and Northwestern. Milwaukee is coming off wins against Army and the Big East’s DePaul. I feel it’s important to remind you at this point that outside of Marquette and Creighton, the Big East is not a spectacularly great volleyball league.
Leading the offense for the Panthers is junior Caitlin Schultz. The 6-4 outside hitter from Port Washington has recorded 129 kills (3.49k/s) so far this season. She had a season high 18 kills in the loss to South Dakota State. Bridget Wallenberger isn’t that far behind Schultz when it comes to options on the court. The 6-2 sophomore is coming off a career game against Army tallying 19 kills against the Black Knights, and is averaging 3.22 kills/set. Look for Jenna Rosenthal and either Allie Barber or Anna Haak to double block both Schultz and Wallenberger of UW-Milwaukee. Setting for Milwaukee is sophomore Jenn Dore. The Naperville, Illinois native has 429 assists (11.59 a/s) so far this year. Dore is also coming off a career game with a whopping 60 assists in the win over Army.
My prediction for this one is Marquette in four. UW-Milwaukee is not a bad team, they beat Loyola-Chicago in three sets just as Marquette did on Friday. I think Ryan Theis’ squad is going to come out swinging hard after a tough loss on Sunday. Look for Jenna Rosenthal and Allie Barber all to have double digit kills as well.