After another thrilling weekend of action in the Big East, #10 Marquette volleyball is now 21-3 on the year and 11-1 in conference play. The Golden Eagles picked up a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-20) win at home against Xavier on Friday, and then headed out on the road on Sunday to beat Butler by a 3-0 score as well, with set margins of 25-14, 25-22, and 25-21.
With the wins, Marquette can’t finish any lower than sixth place in the Big East, and yes, there are still six matches left to be played this season. This league is not super great, guys.
Friday’s match against Xavier had two relatively competitive sets and one runaway by Marquette. Marquette got out to a 12-7 lead in the first set, but that was about as far away as the Golden Eagles got. Xavier nudged their way back in and stayed there..... right up until MU took five of the last seven points to win. A 10-4 start in the second turned into a 16-7 Marquette lead, and that wrapped up pretty quickly. The third set went back and forth and back and forth with neither side getting an advantage. Marquette locked up the set and match win with a late flurry, out-scoring Xavier 5-1 at the end and winning the whole shebang on a kill from Gwyn Jones.
Sunday’s encounter with Butler went much easier than the Xavier match.
After a 3-1 Butler lead to start, Marquette got off on a 10-3 spree to take an 11-6 lead. If that wasn’t enough, a late 8-1 burst capped off by a kill from Gwyn Jones pushed MU right up to set point. After a kill from BU’s Brooke Gregory, Ellie Koontz put down one of her own to put the Golden Eagles up 1-0.
The second set looks like it was much closer, but it was not. Butler staved off set point five times to pull within two at the very end, 24-22, but a kill from Koontz again was the decider. In the third, Marquette never had a serious run to create space from the Bulldogs. They slowly just created space between the two teams, building a 20-15 lead and easing in for the 25-21 final off a smash from Hope Werch.
The key for Marquette in both contests was offensive diversity. Sure, Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles in both matches in kills, but each time MU had three total players record at least 10 kills. Barber was an efficient machine at the net, but the Golden Eagles spread the attacking around. To a certain extent, you could make the argument that head coach Ryan Theis was using the weekend’s matches to keep everyone on their toes and engaged as the conference season continues to grind onwards.
Up Next: After one weekend with one home and one away match, Marquette will repeat the exercise this coming weekend. However, there’s a slight change to the proceedings, as the opponent will be the same both times. Marquette will host DePaul on Friday evening before heading south on I-94 to take on the Blue Demons in their own building on Saturday night. DePaul is 11-13 on the year and 3-9 in Big East contests. They’ll be coming in on a three match losing streak which means, yes, they just lost to the two teams that Marquette just beat.