Marquette volleyball head coach Ryan Theis kept his lineup moving in mysterious ways on Wednesday afternoon in Cincinnati, but that didn’t stop the #10 ranked Golden Eagles from getting the win against Xavier. Marquette prevailed in four sets by scores of 25-15, 19-25, 25-23, and 25-16. The Golden Eagles are now 4-0 in Big East play, while Xavier suffers a loss for the first time in conference action, falling to 1-1.
Why, yes, it is weird that MU has played four times and Xavier has only played twice. No worries, that will be rectified this weekend while Marquette and DePaul take the weekend off while everyone else plays on Friday and Saturday.
Back to the important stuff.
Lauren Speckman got the day off for the Golden Eagles here, as it appears that Ryan Theis is trying to work in some rest for all of his players in one form or fashion. Claire Mosher took her spot in the starting lineup and traded in and out with Sarah Rose, as is normal for Marquette.
The first set was an offensive show of force for the Golden Eagles, as they put down 15 kills on an error free 22 swings. The big move was in the middle of the set, when a kill and a block by MU and two errors by the Musketeers gave MU a 4-0 run to go up 16-8. That was quickly followed up by a 7-1 run, and KJ Lines wrapped things up quickly.
“Quickly” is not a word for the next two sets, however. Xavier got an early advantage on Marquette, and slowly kept building it bit by bit until they were leading 14-8. Five straight late on four kills and an ace put X up 20-12, and that point, Marquette was just biding their time until it was time to play a competitive set again.
The third set was the most contentious of the afternoon at Cintas Center with the two sides tilting at each other up through a kill from XU’s Jayda Carlton knotting the match at 16-all. Five straight for Marquette, including a solo block and a kill by sophomore Ellie Koontz put the Golden Eagles up 21-16 and seemingly in control. Before you knew it, though, Norah Painter put one of her team best 13 kills on the floor, and Xavier had tied the whole thing up at 22. Hannah Vanden Berg answered, followed by an ace from Martha Konovodoff, and it was Koontz again, this time giving MU the 25-23 win.
Unsurprisingly, the fourth set started out with Xavier refusing to go away. Marquette pushed out to a four point lead four times, but through 28 total points, it was still just 15-13 after a kill from XU’s Moriah Hopkins. Three straight errors by the Musketeers — a service error, a ball handling error, and a block by Vanden Berg and Elizabeth Orf — were compounded by a kill from Orf, and MU was up 19-13, their biggest lead of the set. Finally, Marquette got hot again, or maybe just a little bit lucky, as the Golden Eagles ripped off six of the final seven points of the match to win, even though the match winner was on an attack error.
Allie Barber was the only Golden Eagle in double digits with 16 kills, although Ellie Koontz just barely missed with nine. Mosher had a match high 23 assists, while Rose had 20 and Konovodoff — always an underrated passer for a libero — had 10. All three double digit passers had double-doubles on the day, with all three getting at least 10 digs as well. Marquette was dominant from the service stripe, adding 10 points to the proceedings from aces.
Up Next: As mentioned earlier, Marquette will be off this coming weekend. The next time they take to the court will be on October 11th at the McGuire Center when they welcome Providence to the building. That means just 23 hours later, Creighton comes to town as well, providing the Golden Eagles with the front end of their biggest obstacle to a regular season title.