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The Golden Eagles closed out the regular season with a pair of sweeps to secure at least a share of the regular season title.

They did it!

They goddamned did it.

Marquette volleyball controlled their destiny heading into the final weekend of the regular season. If they won their two matches, then they would secure at least a share of the program’s first Big East title since winning the regular season and tournament titles in 2013 and just the second regular season conference championship in program history with a record of 16-2.

And they did it.

It was harder than it had to be for reasons that we will get into in a second, but on Friday, Marquette recorded a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-16) sweep of Georgetown to set up a chance to clinch the title on Saturday. MU took care of business quickly and efficiently, sweeping Villanova 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-21) to wrap up head coach Ryan Theis’ first Big East regular season championship.

You’ll notice that I keep saying “at least a share” of the title instead of clarifying why it’s not finalized. That’s because Creighton, Marquette’s long time nemesis at the top of the standings, will not finish the regular season until Sunday afternoon. They have a home game against St. John’s, and if the Red Storm win, Marquette gets the top spot in the league and the #1 seed in the conference tournament all to themselves. If Creighton wins, Marquette ties with the Bluejays for the regular season title at 16-2. However, Creighton swept MU 2-0 in the regular season, so that will make the Bluejays the #1 seed and leave the Golden Eagles as the #2 seed.

Marquette’s Friday night win over Georgetown was, as mentioned a moment ago, harder than it had to be, and that’s on multiple fronts. First of all, the Golden Eagles just did not have their act together in the first set. They hit just .027 against the team currently occupying the basement spot in the Big East standings, and looking out of sorts and falling behind 21-18 to the Hoyas wasn’t the worst news of their 25-23 victory. The worst news came with Marquette trailing 22-21 following a Katie Schoessow ace. Carsen Murray and Hope Werch went up together for a block on a Georgetown attack..... and Werch went down in a heap, instantly in pain and immediately holding her knee. Jenna Reitsma subbed in for Werch once she was escorted off the floor without being able to put any weight on her right leg, and Werch, Marquette’s jack of all trades and all-time leader in service aces, would not play again this weekend.

Werch’s injury turned into a replayed point since both teams stopped playing once she went down, and as it turns out, Schoessow’s ace was the second point in a 6-1 run by the Golden Eagles to close out the first frame with a win. Just barely, given the 21-18 deficit just moments earlier, and we can’t even say that MU got out of it in one piece.

What’s clear from here is that it took another half a set — Georgetown led 15-11 in the second — but Marquette devised an improvised gameplan with Werch off the board for the remainder of the match, and executed it flawlessly. Off a setter kill by Claire Mosher, MU kickstarted a 6-0 run go up 17-15 and then closed out the set with a 6-1 burst capped by a block from Claire Nuessmeier and Taylor Wolf to win 25-19. By the end of the second frame, the Golden Eagles had outhit the Hoyas .316 to .220 and outscored them 14-3 in the back end of the set.

The improvised plan and “we’ve got to win this for Hope” attitude continued into the third set. Marquette went up 6-3 early, and that turned into 12-6, and 15-18, and 18-9. The Hoyas climbed back in a little bit, cutting the margin to 20-15, but the Golden Eagles closed out the match on a 5-1 run, including a service ace from Carly Skrabak for the winner.

Jenna Reitsma was the recipient of Hope Werch’s playing time, and she came through in a big way. She didn’t play at all in the match until Werch was injured, but the freshman still ended up tied with Savannah Rennie for the team lead in kills with 11, and she hit .409 and threw in two Werch-esque aces as well.

How about some highlights, courtesy of FloSports and

That brings us to Championship Day on Saturday, and it was clear from the jump that the Golden Eagles were not fooling around with their conference title hopes in their hands. Marquette went up 7-1 straight out of the gate with Taylor Wolf opening the game up with two big kills and Carly Skrabak slashing two aces into Villanova’s psyche. Before long, Marquette was up 14-3 — and Jenna Reitsma served up four straight aces at one point — and the Golden Eagles rolled to the 25-13 win in the first set.

More of the same in the second, as the Golden Eagles continued to hold the Wildcats under .200 hitting, just like they would in every set in the match. Sure, Villanova kept it close early, and even led 8-7. And then the Golden Eagles scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 15-10 lead. A 5-1 run after that made it 20-13, and it was pretty much academic before Wolf locked up the 25-19 win with a kill.

The third set, officially, ended up closer than the first two, but it didn’t start there. Marquette got out to a 10-4 lead in the early going as the Wildcats committed four errors on their own and got blocked by Ellie Koontz and Anastasija Svetnik for a fifth. It certainly looked like Marquette was going to walk to the win as they went up 13-7 and 14-8 in the middle section of the set, and then even late as Jenna Reitsma wrapped up a 4-0 run to put MU up 19-11 and then notched another ace for a 21-13 lead. But Marquette struggled to close it out effectively, committing a few errors of their own to let the Wildcats wander back in. A service error by Claire Mosher made it a three point margin, 23-20, but finally, officially, Taylor Wolf recorded the final kill of the set, even though Villanova insisted on challenging the call and dousing water on Marquette’s immediate celebration ever so slightly.

Jenna Reitsma continued her great play into Saturday, tying for the team lead in kills with 11 even though she hit just .154, but she added three assisted blocks and five service aces for a match high 17.5 points on the board. Wolf matched her in kills with 11 and hit .360 — much better than her flat .000 from Friday — while on her way to 14 assists and 12 digs for a triple-double.

How about some highlights, courtesy of FloSports and

Up Next: The day is known, but the opponent and the time is up in the air. Marquette will be back in action on Friday, November 26th, in the Big East semifinals. With the Creighton match still to come on Sunday afternoon, the seeding is not decided, so we don’t know MU’s opponent for sure. We know it will be either Connecticut or DePaul, but we don’t know if it will be in the 1 vs 4 game or the 2 vs 3 game.