Your #17 ranked Marquette Golden Eagles volleyball team closed out the regular season on Saturday night with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-15) victory over St. John’s. With the win, Marquette is now 25-5 on the season, and they finish second in the Big East with a record of 15-2. Yes, that only totals up to 17 games instead of the scheduled 18, as Friday’s game against Seton Hall is officially cancelled and will not be made up as it has no impact on the Big East standings.
Marquette heads to the Big East semifinals next Friday in Omaha, where they will get a rematch with the Red Storm. While the Golden Eagles had already secured the #2 seed in the conference tournament before Saturday’s finale, the same can be said for the Red Storm and the #3 seed. No matter what happens at DJ Sokol Arena next weekend, Marquette is nearly guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament. As of last Monday, MU had an RPI of #18 in the country largely because they have a 2-5 record against the top 25 teams on their schedule and a perfect 22-0 record against everyone else. St. John’s was at #103 last Monday, so it’s safe to say that Marquette is now 23-0 against everyone else.
It wasn’t always obvious that Marquette was going to get that 25th win of the year, though. In fact, the Golden Eagles struggled in the first set against St. John’s. MU hit just .154 in the opener and a 6-0 run by the Johnnies in the middle of the frame put them up 19-14. It wasn’t a big run by Marquette that carried them to the 26-24 win, it was just a matter of never letting SJU put two points together. Three straight for MU, then another pair, then three more, and all of a sudden, it’s 23-22 favoring Marquette. A service error by MU’s Lauren Speckman and a block by the Red Storm on Allie Barber ended up knotting things up at 24 and sending us to extra points. A kill by Barber and an attack error by St. John’s Rachele Rastelli — both challenged by St. John’s, both challenges lost — and Marquette escaped with the win.
That come from behind win may have helped fire up MU for the second set as they ripped off six straight early to take an 11-4 lead. It looked like Marquette was going to run away with the second frame easily, but St. John’s put together a 7-1 late to get within four at 22-18. A pair of kills from Anna Haak closed the door quickly though, and Marquette was up 2-0. The third set ended up going more like the second set looked like it was going to go. After trading points early, a 6-0 run capped by a Johnnies attack error had Marquette up 12-6. They kept the doubling feature going for a while, getting the score to 14-7 and 16-8. St. John’s would claw it back to just a five point margin, but the Golden Eagles used a 7-2 run to close things out, and because it was Senior Night, it’s only fitting that Jenna Rosenthal had three kills in that stretch.
Rosenthal finished as Marquette’s best attacker on the night, racking up 12 kills on an error free 21 swings to hit .571. She also added three assisted blocks to extend her career record as well as her record for total blocks. Anna Haak also got into double digits on her Senior Night, putting up 10 kills. It was a quiet night for Allie Barber, as she had just eight kills and committed an uncharacteristic six errors. All in all, a quality team performance to backstop the off night from the most prolific hitter in the Big East.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: As mentioned above, Marquette returns to action on Friday in the Big East semifinals. MU will be the #2 seed and square off with this same Red Storm team. First serve is set for 2pm on the Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go. #1 seeded Creighton is the predetermined host for the event, and they’ll play #4 seeded Villanova in the other semifinal game, with the winners facing off on Saturday.