Marquette volleyball hit .370 as a team and ran through Loyola-Chicago in just 63 minutes on Friday night, earning a 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-17) win in the 2017 home opener. With the W, MU moves to 4-3 on the season, the first time that they’ve been over .500 since winning their opener against Hawaii.
Set #1 was all Marquette from the jump, with the Golden Eagles exploding out to an 11-2 lead capped by a Hope Werch solo block. Loyola would score consecutive points on just four occasions in the set and MU coasted to the win. Marquette actually won the second set by a larger margin than the first, but it didn’t look like it was going that way early. A Quinn Spieker kill knotted the set at five after 10 points, and it looked like we might have a contest on our hands....... and then MU ran off eight of the next 10 points. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Golden Eagles crushed the Ramblers’ dreams with a late 8-0 run that featured two kills from Allie Barber and two aces from Lauren Speckman.
The early challenge from Loyola turned up again in the third set, but the Ramblers just kept coming. Loyola hit .257 in the third frame, their best performance of the night, while holding MU to just .294, their worst performance of the three. Elle Van Grinsven pulled Loyola even at 12 at the midway point of the set, and that’s where the wheels fell off for them. MU picked up 13 of the next 18 points, including the final five in a row, and five of those 13 points were on errors by the Ramblers. Only one of the errors was a Marquette block as Loyola’s unforced miscues ended up costing them a chance at forcing a fourth set.
Barber finished with a match high 13 kills and she did it on just 23 swings while hitting .478. Speckman finished with 31 assists, which will somehow actually bring her average for the season down. Reigning Big East Freshman of the Week Martha Konovodoff had 12 digs as the only player in the match to hit double digits in that department. Marquette’s 10 service aces were an underrated part of the Golden Eagles’ victory, as were Loyola’s nine service errors.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Marquette Wire?
Up Next: Marquette is back in action on Sunday afternoon, and it’s a big one. They’ll be hosting #13 Kentucky at 1pm Central in the final match of the Marquette Invitational for both squads. The Wildcats came into the weekend with a record of 5-2, but both losses were against ranked foes. They’ll play Loyola-Chicago on Saturday night at the McGuire Center before making the quick turn around to play MU.