Marquette volleyball had a chance for a 3-0 weekend in their hands on Saturday, but ended up splitting their two matches against Wichita State and IUPUI. The Golden Eagles fell in five sets (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 18-25, 17-19) to the Shockers in the morning before getting a 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-16) win over the Jaguars in the evening. All told, it sends Marquette’s record on the year to 3-3.
I suspect the Wichita State match may come up over and over again this season in head coach Ryan Theis’ locker room talks. Marquette jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Shox, who came into the weekend as the unofficial #26 team in the AVCA top 25 poll. However, after two opening frames of hitting .350 and .286, MU’s attack failed them, never going above .220 the rest of the way. Wichita used an early 7-0 run in the third to flip a 5-2 MU lead into a 9-5 Shockers advantage. From there they were able to hold Marquette at bay until a late 4-0 burst helped them clinch the frame. The fourth set was tightly contested until WSU assembled a 5-0 run late to snap a 14-all tie and use that to carry them to a fifth set.
My usual complaint about the absurdity of 15 point fifth sets was magnified on Saturday as Marquette and Wichita went to extra points to decide this match. The lead in the fifth set hit two points on just two occasions: A Hope Werch ace that put MU up 10-8, and a Tabitha Brown ace that gave Wichita State the 19-17 win. That’s it. Was this match really settled by a 19 point victory by WSU after four sets of playing to 25? How many times has a team rallied from down 19-17 to end up winning? This is silly.
Allie Barber led Marquette with a match high 26 kills, and Jenna Rosenthal smacked down 20 kills of her own. Both numbers were career bests, as were the 13 kills from Werch. She was also one of four Golden Eagles to post career bests in digs (19), along with Martha Konovodoff (24), Anna Haak (16), and Manon Geoffroy (15). Lauren Speckman was baaaaananas at setter dishing out a career best 64 assists, and that 12.8/set mark bodes very well for Marquette’s season.
The evening match with IUPUI was a much more sedate affair, as MU hit over .200 in every set on their way to the win. Marquette faltered in the second set and had to fend off a invigorated Jaguars team in the third, but closed things easily out in four sets.
Allie Barber (21 kills) and Jenna Rosenthal (16) powered the offense again, while Hope Werch (19) and Martha Konovodoff (27) bettered their digs output from the morning with brand new career highs. Lauren Speckman somehow found a way to top her setting performance from the Wichita State match, tossing up 52 assists for a 13 per set average. She also had 13 digs for her third double-double of the year.
Up Next: It’s finally time for the 2017 home opener! Marquette will play their first match of the season at the McGuire Center on Friday night at 7pm when Loyola-Chicago comes to town.