YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles volleyball team continued to show why they have been the best team on campus for the past few years over the weekend. #24 Marquette fended off Saint Louis on Thursday, winning in four sets with set scores of 27-25, 22-25, 25-20, and 25-18. They followed that up with a straight sets (25-15, 25-19, 29-27) victory over Iowa State on Saturday afternoon. MU is now 8-2 on the season after winning their fifth straight match on Saturday, with four scheduled Big East matches left in front of them and hopefully two rescheduled matches against Creighton coming down the pipe before the conference tournament.
The set scores against the Billikens somewhat tell the story, but to drive it home: Beating SLU was no picnic for the Golden Eagles. They hit under .180 in the first three sets of the match, and sure, they kept Saint Louis under that mark as well, but that didn’t make things easy. MU led 1-0 in the first set, but did not lead again a 3-0 run was capped by an ace from Hope Werch to put the Golden Eagles up 18-16. Saint Louis wasn’t going anywhere any time soon, so it’s not a surprise that they fended off set point twice before forcing things to extra points where MU won it on an attacking error by SLU’s Emily Henken. The second set was the one that Saint Louis won, and the Golden Eagles never led. They tied it at 20-all on a kill by Werch and again at 21 on a kill by Claire Nuessmeier, but the Billikens took four of the next five and tie the whole deal up at a set each.
Marquette had control of the third set, at least on the scoreboard, most of the way. A 9-0 run served by Carly Skrabak gave the Golden Eagles a 22-10 lead and made it look like they were going to run away with the win there, but SLU answered in a big way. 9-1 going the other direction made it a 23-19 game, and while that’s still a lead, it wasn’t as clear cut as it had been a moment earlier. Marquette didn’t have to do much to closer it out, as two attack errors from SLU’s Maya Taylor gave the Golden Eagles their 24th and 25th point of the set. A late run by Marquette in the fourth tipped the match in their favor. A service error by Henken started off a 10-2 run for the Golden Eagles capped by — surprise — an attack error by the Billikens. That left MU up 23-15, and kills by Taylor Wolf and Hannah Vanden Berg wrapped up the 3-1 win for the home team.
It’s fitting that HVB got the winner, as she tied with Kaitlyn Lines for the team high in kills with 12. Nuessmeier added 11 on just 21 swings, and Savannah Rennie gave the Golden Eagles 10 kills as well. Claire Mosher led the way in assists with 27, while Rennie had a hand in six blocks and Katie Schoessow’s 22 digs were the highest total on either team.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Marquette beat Iowa State in Saturday’s match, rolling through the first two sets before having to go back and forth in the third. However, that wasn’t the most important thing that happened. Senior setter Sarah Rose, who is battling Ewing’s Sarcoma, got a chance to play, and opened up the match starting in place of Hope Werch. The Golden Eagles started the match serving, and that meant Rose took the first swing of the match... and yes, she recorded the first point on an ace.
Shut up, I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Whether it was the inspiration of seeing their teammate on the floor one more time, or it was just the nature of shaking off some rust against Saint Louis two days earlier, Marquette looked like a much better team against Iowa State. They hit .357 in the three sets, never dipping below the .312 that they put up in the third frame.
An 8-2 lead in the first quickly evaporated as Iowa State tied it up at nine, but that’s the closest they would come the rest of the set. Marquette scored seven of the next eight points and kept on adding two or three at a time until an error by Kenzie Mantz gave the Golden Eagles the 25-15 win. The second set looks like a relatively easy win by MU at the end of it, but it was pretty close most of the way. MU scored three straight capped by a kill from Hannah Vanden Berg to make it 21-16 and create some breathing space. Things were still back-and-forthy the rest of the way and Hope Werch teamed up with Savannah Rennie to stuff an Abby Greiman attack for the win.
The third set was dramatic, or at least it was after Marquette took an early 9-6 lead on a kill by Werch. ISU tied it up at nine for the third straight frame, and then pushed the lead out to 15-12 on an attack by Avery Rhodes. MU responded to tie it up at 16, and the two teams were in a duel the rest of the way. A kill by Rennie and an error by ISU’s Annie Hatch made Marquette the first team to 24, but the Cyclones responded with three straight diversions of Marquette’s match point. That actually gave Iowa State the chance to win it at 25-24, but Kaitlyn Lines answered to keep the match going, and an ace by Claire Mosher made it MU’s chance to win.
Hatch scored for ISU. Taylor Wolf dropped one in for Marquette, match point again. Eleanor Holthaus answered to make it 27-all. Finally, Wolf registered a kill again, and then paired up with Rennie for the match winning block on Holthaus.
Vanden Berg got match honors for the second straight match, registering 14 kills while hitting a robust .480 on 25 swings. Wolf added 12, and Lines got to 11 to round out the trio with more than 10. Wolf was back to her triple-doubling ways here, adding 22 assists while partnering with Claire Mosher’s 24, and Wolf pulled up 13 digs, too. That was tied for second most on the team with — believe it or not — Katie Schoessow, as Hope Werch led the team with 16.
This match doubles as win #300 in head coach Ryan Theis’ career. He picked up the first 144 as the head coach at Ohio University, and in just six-plus seasons at Marquette, he has compiled the second most wins in MU history. Marquette’s 8-2 start to this 2021 spring campaign has only improved Theis’ winning percentage with the Golden Eagles, which was already the best in program history at the end of the 2019 season.
How about some more highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette’s first road trip in Big East play is this coming weekend. The Golden Eagles will hit the road to play a Big East opponent in matches that count in the league standings — remember, they went to Creighton in non-conference competition earlier this year — when they visit Butler for a pair on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s match is set to start at 5pm Central at Hinkle Fieldhouse, while Saturday’s is scheduled for 3pm Central. The Bulldogs are 3-5 on the year after dropping a pair of league games to DePaul over this past weekend.