After a misstep in the first set on Wednesday night, Marquette volleyball came roaring back in a big way to beat Xavier, 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-13). The Golden Eagles are now 4-0 in Big East play, winners of their last five straight, and 10-5 overall. Marquette has taken advantage of a quirk in Big East scheduling to win four matches in a week and run out in front of 2-0 Providence and 2-0 Creighton in the league standings.
Marquette came into the match riding a 12 set winning streak, but the Musketeers immediately snapped that streak by winning the first set. Xavier found themselves ahead 13-7 on a kill by Mackenzi Humm and were able to parlay that into a win. Marquette had closed the gap, trimming the lead to just 17-16 off an attack error by XU, but a 5-0 run capped off by a kill from Audrey Adams had Xavier back out in front and free and clear to 25 points. MU hit just .128 in the opening frame and committed six attacking errors for an uncharacteristic approach on offense and defense, as they allowed XU to hit .385 as well.
Things turned around in the second set, as Marquette hit .273 against just .179 for the Musketeers. It didn’t look like they were turning around quickly, though, as Xavier held a 17-13 lead midway through the frame. That’s when MU turned in a 7-0 run to swing their way into a 20-17 lead, which became 21-18 after the two teams traded service errors. Allie Barber asserted herself in that streak, chipping in three of of her match high 23 kills to power the comeback. Xavier wasn’t dead yet, though, as a kill by Adams had them trailing 23-21 and a service error from MU’s Martha Konovodoff had the Golden Eagles up just 24-22 before Anna Haak knotted the match at one set each.
MU’s defense slipped again in the third, as Xavier hit .324. However, the Golden Eagles were straight fire, connecting for kills at a .500 clip and committing just one error. Marquette scored first and never trailed, although there were some ties early. They eventually built the lead out to four points, poked around at five late, and eventually had a six point margin at 25-19 when XU’s Samantha Foti committed an error to put MU up 2-1.
It was all MU, all the time in the fourth. 14 kills on 33 swings for the Golden Eagles, while they held Xavier to just six kills on 29 swings. Combine that with six errors in the stanza and XU hit a nice flat .000. MU jumped out to an 8-1 lead and after answering XU’s next point with three more of their own, Marquette never trailed by fewer than eight the rest of the way. A nice little 4-1 burst for MU at the end capped by a kill from Haak wrapped up the match and the win for the Golden Eagles.
Hope Werch recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs, and she chipped in an ace and an assisted block as well. Jenna Rosenthal had a quiet-ish night, recording eight kills on 21 swings, but she did have three aces with no service errors as well as a solo block and an assisted block to continue her climb to the top of MU’s blocking chart. Lauren Speckman dished out 51 assists to somehow find a way to improve on her 4th best in the country helper average.
This is where a highlight package would go, but Xavier is a big bag of jerks.
Up Next: It’s a quiet weekend for the Golden Eagles, as they get to relax from the furious pace of this first week of league play with just one match against DePaul, their travel partner. The Blue Demons are 7-9 overall and 1-3 in Big East action after falling in straight sets to Butler on Wednesday night.