When Bond Shymansky took over the Marquette volleyball program in 2009, the team had finished with 20 wins in a season just once since moving to Division 1 competition in 1986. Shymansky won 23 games in his second season, and since then, MU has never won fewer than 22 games in a season, even continuing that stretch under head coach Ryan Theis.
With that being the case, it’s not surprising that the Marquette record book gets ripped up and thrown out in one way (or two or three) or another every year. The 2017 campaign was no different for the Golden Eagles, as they posted five different top 10 single season performances in five different categories, and tossed in two top 15 seasons in another category. On top of that, Marquette’s most experienced performer continued her climb towards re-writing a record that was set just back at the end of the 2015 season.
Here’s the rundown on the various lists that changed this season, broken down by single season or career records, and then by specific stat category.
SINGLE SEASON RECORDS
1 - Taylor Louis (611, 2015)
2 - Autumn Bailey (576, 2014)
3 - Allie Barber (546, 2017)
4 - Kimberley Todd (544, 2006)
5 - Kimberley Todd (1,323, 2006)
6 - Vesna Grbavac (1,287, 1999)
7 - Allie Barber (1,285, 2017)
8 - Autumn Bailey (1,254, 2013)
9 - Sara Blasier (.335, 2016)
10 - Holly Mertens (.333, 2012)
11 - Jenna Rosenthal (.330, 2017)
12 - Kristin Patterson (.329, 1985)
13 - Allie Barber (.328, 2017)
14 - Peggy Gross (.320, 1994)
7 - Nikki Klingsporn (1,391, 2010)
8 - Liz Egasti (1,323, 1998)
9 - Lauren Speckman (1,312, 2017)
10 - Monica Renfrow (1,287, 2006)
6 - Lauren Houg (548, 2016)
7 - Jamie Mueller (517, 2006)
8 - Martha Konovodoff (477, 2017)
9 - Abby Roberts (441, 1997)
T4 - Danielle Carlson (112, 2012)
T4 - Kelsey Mattai (112, 2012)
T6 - Jenna Rosenthal (109, 2017)
T6 - Tiara Russell (109, 2008)
T6 - Martha Meyer (109, 1997)
1 - Meghan Niemann (412, 2013-16)
2 - Jenna Rosenthal (370, 2015-17)
T3 - Rabbecka Gonyo (364, 2007-10)
T3 - Martha Mayer (364, 1994-1997)
1 - Meghan Niemann (454, 2013-16)
2 - Martha Meyer (433, 1994-97)
3 - Rabbecka Gonyo (431, 2007-2010)
4 - ???
?5? - Jenna Rosenthal (419, 2015-17)
Looking To The Future
If Allie Barber posts another 500 kills in her junior campaign, which would actually be a down year relative to 2017, she will be at 1,265 in her career. That would move her to #4 all time, but perhaps more importantly, put her within another 500 kills of Marquette’s all time kills record. To give you an idea of how effective of an attacker Barber has become for the Golden Eagles (her career hitting percentage of .315 would be the third best in program history), another 2,400 attacks — 1,200 each, which is less than she had this season — over the next two seasons would still leave her short of that record.
Lauren Speckman also has two years as Marquette’s setter ahead of her. Another 1,300 assists would move her to the fifth most in program history, and repeating that again as a senior would get her to #3 all time. The all-time record (5,180) is probably out of reach, unless Marquette suddenly starts playing a lot of five set matches (no thank you) or makes two big postseason runs (that would be super).
Perhaps the most interesting road into the future belongs to Martha Konovodoff. Since she’s taken over as Marquette’s libero as a freshman, she’s going to have an awful lot of matches in that role in her future, and that’s going to mean a whole bunch of digs. If she does nothing but repeat her 477 digs three more times, Konovodoff will end up with 1,908 digs, which would be the second most in program history. That’s right about 300 short of Julie Jeziorowski’s team record, and it’s not too weird to think that Konovodoff could hit that. 577 digs in a season is definitely doable, as Marquette has had three players go past the 600 dig plateau, all since 2011.
We have to close on Jenna Rosenthal, as she’ll be a senior next season. As you can see, she’s capable of putting up well more than 100 assisted blocks in a season, and Rosenthal needs just 43 more to break Meghan Niemann’s program record. Give or take a set here and there, that would put Rosenthal on pace to break the record right around the start of conference play in 2018. She’s also less than 40 total blocks away from Niemann’s record there as well. It really can’t be overstated how impressive it is that Rosenthal is going to mow right past Niemann’s records. There is an argument to be made that Niemann is the best player in Marquette volleyball history, and as such, you could argue that her #7 should be the first number that MU ever retires in volleyball. Keep that in mind while you read the following: Niemann’s team records for assisted blocks and total blocks are going to stand for about one and a half seasons, really, for less than two full calendar years. If we’re going to talk about retiring Niemann’s number, then we could probably just start with the conversation about retiring Rosenthal’s #9 as well.