Thanks to a powerful 16 kill performance from outside hitter Allie Barber, YOUR Marquette knocked off Villanova on Saturday afternoon in the Big East tournament semifinals. The Golden Eagles won with set scores of 25-22, 25-18, and 25-19, winning in a sweep, 3-0, and advancing to the tournament title game on Saturday afternoon.
As could be expected from Josh Steinbach’s team, Villanova gave Marquette a good run for their money. Between the fact that the Wildcats finished third in the Big East and the fact that VU was playing with their season on the line as they have no shot at an NCAA tournament at-large bid, it’s not surprising that all three sets were competitive even if the scores might not tell you that was the case.
Marquette took a five point lead at multiple spots in the first set, and yet, there was Villanova, staving off two set points to pull within two and make things interesting before Ellie Koontz closed it out. In the second, neither side managed anything resembling a significant advantage until MU finally went up 19-15 late. Even then, though, it took a 5-1 run at the very end of the set, featuring two kills from Barber and a partner block between Barber and Elizabeth Orf for the Golden Eagles to ultimately win by seven.
The third set was more of the same. Marquette took an 11-7 lead early on a kill by — SURPRISE — Barber, but before long, things were tied up at 13. A service error by the Wildcats was followed by kills from Hope Werch and Gwyn Jones to put Marquette up 16-13, but there was Villanova again, tying it at 16. That’s when MU kicked it into high gear, taking nine of the next 12 points and closing out the set and the match with a 6-1 run. As you would expect in this situation, it was Allie Barber who landed the match winning kill.
Up Next: And thus the surprise in the day.
Marquette beating Villanova, that was expected by seed line in the tournament. #4 seeded St. John’s beating #1 Creighton and bumping the regular season champs out of the tourney, and doing it in straight sets? That was not expected, and yet that’s the result we got.
Thus, it’ll be #2 Marquette and #4 St. John’s squaring off on Saturday afternoon with a Big East trophy and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line. First serve at the McGuire Center is set for 3:30pm Central, but if you can’t make it down, you can catch the action on FS2.