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Marquette Volleyball Preview: The Baylor Invitational

The Golden Eagles come into the regular season with high hopes and expectations in Ryan Theis’ fifth season

Creighton v Baylor Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

As the great Chance the Rapper would say, “and we back and we back.” Marquette volleyball is absolutely back and ready to rumble in the 2018 season. The team starts off the season just outside the top 25 rankings and is hungry to make some noise come tournament time. They will open up the regular season play down in the Lone Star State and will try and fend off Texas State, LSU and #16 Baylor. The team started off last season upsetting a ranked Hawaii team and looks to do the same this year by knocking off Baylor.

Match #1: vs Texas State Bobcats

Date: Friday, August 24, 2018
Time: 4 pm CT
Location: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

While Texas State seems like a no name school compared to the many other larger schools in Texas not to mention the volleyball powers in the Big 12, their volleyball team is no slouch. The Bobcats were picked to finish first in the preseason Sun Belt polls, while junior Micah Dinwiddie was picked as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Senior Megan Porter led the team in kills last year and returns this year to try and make a name for herself. I am sure with Jenna Rosenthal closing in on the all time blocks record that she, along with Allie Barber who is just an absolute baller, will cover Porter for most of the game.

Texas State did lose their setter after last season, but if I had to guess Cheyenne Huskey will replace her. Huskey is a transfer out of Florida who helped the Gators win 30 matches in one season while also starting in five NCAA Tournament matches. With Huskey’s resume, I have to assume she will be setting this season.

I am going to say Marquette will be coming out firing against the Bobcats and win in four sets. I don’t want to come off cocky saying they will sweep because I am sure they will have to shake off some rust.

Match #2: vs LSU Tigers

Date: Saturday, August 25, 2018
Time: 12:30 pm CT
Location: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Like Marquette, the LSU Tigers are receiving votes in the preseason polls as well. The Tigers also bring back almost their entire team from last season and will have a heavy veteran presence on the court. With that veteran presence the Tigers bring back four their top five kill producers from their 20-10 record last season, which is pretty scary.

Sophomore Taylor Bannister led the team in kills last season as a freshman averaging 3.22 kills per set. Bannister looks to build on that during her second year. With LSU bringing back four of their top five hitters from last season, Ryan Theis may have to spread the blocking patterns around a little bit.

Setting for the Tigers will be Anna Zwiebel who averaged 9.77 assists per set last season. The junior will look to spread the ball around the floor with the abundance of hitters the TIgers bring back.

These two teams seem very similar to me. Both are just outside the top 25 and both return almost their whole starting lineups from last season. With that, I am gonna say Marquette in five sets because I have a feeling Marquette is gonna be in the top 25 real soon.

Match #3: at #16 Baylor Bears

Date: Saturday, August 25, 2018
Time: 7 pm CT
Location: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Video Streaming: (you need a paid subscription, LAME)
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

The Baylor Bears come in ranked #16 in the preseason poll which is the highest preseason ranking the team has ever received. They were also picked to finish second in the Big 12 behind the Longhorns of Texas.

Yossiana Pressley was second on the team in kills last year averaging 3.62 kills per set last season. Behind Pressley, no one on the team was very close in terms of kills per set. The sophomore will look to lead the team in attacks this year, but I am sure she will have a hard time with Jenna Rosenthal, Allie Barber and Hope Werch trying to block her at all times.

Sophomore Hannah Lockin will set for the Bears after she averaged 11.23 assists per set last season as a freshman. Pressley seems to be her main target, but she has the ability to move the ball around the court.

From what I am reading about the Bears, I feel like they could be a bit overrated. Like I said before I don’t want to be cocky, so I am gonna say Baylor wins in five sets just going off of the rankings (maybe the AVCA knows something I don’t).

All Marquette fans should be excited for this season because the team returns all of its stars and I really think they can make a run this season.