Let’s jump into the Wayback Machine for a minute to talk about some Marquette volleyball news from mid-June that we just haven’t gotten around to yet. Back on June 14, the Golden Eagles announced that Oregon State middle blocker Anastasija Svetnik will be transferring to Marquette. Thanks to the COVID-bonus year situation as well as NCAA transfer rules, Svetnik will be immediately eligible and have four years of eligibility available to her at Marquette.
Svetnik, a 6’3” native of Belarus, played her first/freshman/whatever you want to call it year of college volleyball at Oregon State. She one of just three Beavers to play in every set in the spring season as Oregon State went 5-13 with all 18 contests coming in Pac-12 action. Svetnik averaged just 1.23 kills per set, but she hit .305 on 197 attacks, so that’s really more of a situation where the Beavers weren’t asking her to carry a heavy load on offense. She’s a middle blocker, after all, so blocking is what’s important here. OSU had five women averaging at least half a block per set, and a sixth at just barely under that mark, and yes, Svetnik is one of the five. She had 40 assisted blocks and five solo stuffs this past spring to average 0.65 blocks per set.
Here’s what head coach Ryan Theis had to say about his new player in the official MU press release:
“Anastasija is a very skilled middle.” Theis said. “She has a nice arm, good size and a significant amount of international experience. We look forward to getting her in our gym and will enjoy learning about her culture.”
I don’t know if it exactly qualifies as culture, but Svetnik comes from a very athletically talented family. Her mother was the captain of the Belarus National Volleyball Team at one point, so being good at volleyball runs in her blood. Her father was also a talented athlete, as he was part of the national basketball team for a decade as a 6’8” forward and he was awarded the title Master of Sport of the USSR, which apparently means he won a national championship somewhere along the way.
In terms of how Svetnik fits into Marquette’s roster for the 2021 fall campaign, well, that’s up for debate. The Golden Eagles are mostly bringing the entire 2020 spring roster back for another go-round after missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade, mostly due to the reduced size of the championship field. With that said, Claire Nuessmeier and Savannah Rennie both played in every single set as middles for the Golden Eagles in the spring. With both women returning, you’d have to figure that both will be right back in the lineup again. Carsen Murray is also back after playing in just 11 sets in the spring, while Breyan Ashley is no longer listed on the roster after appearing in 18 sets for MU. The question is how much did Ryan Theis want to solely rely on Nuessmeier and Rennie in the middle? If he would have preferred to have a third body to work with in the rotation but just never felt that Ashley or Murray could work out long terms last spring, then there’s space for Svetnik to grab some playing time. If not, then perhaps Svetnik is a long term depth addition for the Golden Eagles as Rennie will definitely be out of eligibility after this fall.
Marquette is set to start the 2021 fall season on August 27th when they face Texas A&M in their first match as part of a tournament that is being hosted by Hawaii. The Golden Eagles will also play a match against the hosts as well as one against Fairfield while they are in The Aloha State.