Hope Werch led a four-pack of Golden Eagles with double digit kill totals on Friday afternoon as Marquette picked up the 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) victory over Texas State. It was match #1 of the season, so MU moves to 1-0 on the season.
As you can see from that 25-23 score, the first set was fairly close. The lead was never more than two points in either direction the whole time, which includes when the Golden Eagles went on a 4-0 run midway through the frame. A 3-0 MU burst a little later seemed to be the difference in the proceedings as Texas State never scored two points in a row the rest of the way. The Bobcats fended off set point once on a kill from Cheyenne Huskey, but Madeline Mosher put the hammer down for Marquette.
The second set went wildly different than the first, as MU jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Even then, Texas State wouldn’t just take their lumps, narrowing the margin to just one at 11-10. The Golden Eagles answered with kills from Elizabeth Orf, Anna Haak, and Allie Barber, not to mention an attack error by the Bobcats to surge back into the lead. A 4-0 run later in the frame that featured one of Martha Konovodoff’s two service aces on the day pushed the lead back to eight at 21-13, and it was just a matter of time before Sarah Rose iced the set with a kill.
Marquette had the engines fully engaged in the third set, hitting a match high .471 as a team. Even with that being the case, it was a little close in the early going. Marquette’s lead didn’t reach four points until Orf made it 10-6 on a kill. That was part of a 10-3 run by the Golden Eagles that permanently seized control of the set and the match. It was mostly academic from there, and consecutive kills from Mosher and Orf wrapped things up after three sets.
Werch was MU’s top performer with 13 kills and a .478 hitting percentage on the day. Jenna Rosenthal had her beat in accuracy at .529, but she finished with just 10 kills. Rosenthal continued to inch towards the program’s blocks records with two assisted stuffs in this one. Allie Barber, the Big East Preseason Player of the Year, finished with 12 kills and hit .290 after a rough go of things early on in the match.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the performance was Lauren Speckman and Sarah Rose splitting setting duties. Speckman started and tossed together a still respectable 32 assists, but Rose saw action in all three sets and had a very strong 16 helpers herself. Without video from the match (thanks for nothing, Baylor), it’s hard to say exactly what head coach Ryan Theis was doing in terms of his rotation, but I can say that the play-by-play shows Rose subbing in while Speckman was subbing out. It also shows that Rose immediately served upon entering the match and Speckman didn’t record an ace or a service error in the match. Presumably that means that Theis was preventing Speckman from serving for whatever reason.
Up Next: Marquette will have two high profile matches on Saturday. First up it’s LSU at 12:30 CT, and then it’s tournament host #16 Baylor at 7pm Central. You can make the argument that all MU needs is a split in those two in order to jump into the top 25 from their preseason spot just one spot short of a preseason ranking.