Lineup changes were the order of the day for head coach Ryan Theis but it all worked out in the end as Marquette volleyball went 6-0 in two matches to sweep Texas-San Antonio and Wright State in the first day of the Marquette Invitational on Friday. With the two wins, MU is now 8-2 on the year with one more match to go as part of the invitational on Saturday.
Friday afternoon’s opener against Texas-San Antonio featured the first big lineup change for the Golden Eagles. Two changes, actually, from MU’s last time out as Jenna Reitsma got her first ever collegiate start while replacing Hannah Vanden Berg in the lineup and Carly Skrabak took over libero duties from Katie Schoessow although both defensive specialists stayed in the starting lineup.
It still took Marquette a bit to get going against the Roadrunners as the visitors ripped off four straight to pull within one in the first set at 7-6. MU started putting multiple points together over and over after that and just kept on building their lead. Two here and two there eventually turned into a kill from Taylor Wolf giving Marquette the 25-18 win in the first set.
An early 8-4 lead turned into 11-5 for Marquette in the second set, and that turned into 14-6 a moment later. Things were going smoothly from there as Marquette briefly flirted with holding UTSA into single digits and then closed with six straight points to win 25-12 in the second set on a block by Savannah Rennie. The hot streak kept going as MU jumped all over the Roadrunners in the third set to take a 7-1 lead. Texas-San Antonio would eventually close to within three at 16-13, but MU scored the next six points capped by a block by Ellie Koontz and Claire Nuessmeier to go up 22-13. At that point you’re waiting for it it to end and end it did on a kill by Taylor Wolf.
Rennie shared top kills honors in the match with UTSA’s Hunter Coppola, as both women ended up with 10. Wolf led MU in assists with 17, while Vanden Berg and Reitsma, oddly, led MU in digs with 10 each.
Whether it was fatigue from playing earlier in the day or because Wright State is the favorite in the Horizon League, things were not quite as perfectly smooth in the evening session for the Golden Eagles. Yet, they still hit .280 as a team and never below .200 in any of the three sets as they won by nine, seven, and five points while sweeping the Raiders. The lineup changed again for Marquette with Hannah Vanden Berg swapping in for Jenna Reitsma but Carly Skrabak keeping the libero jersey for the day.
The first set ended on a kill by HVB, her second of the set, with the score standing at 25-16. The second set tilted in MU’s favor on a 7-1 run by the Golden Eagles in the middle that left them up 18-11 on a kill by — surprise — Vanden Berg again. Wright State made it interesting, pulling within three at 20-17, but Marquette took five of the final six points of the set to win 25-18, and MU’s last four points of the second set were all on WSU attacking errors and not even the kind you get assigned when the other team blocks your attack for a point.
A 12-4 lead early in the third set thanks to two aces by Katie Schoessow on a six point run for Marquette told you how the whole thing was going to wrap up in a hurry. To their credit, Wright State did fight back, cutting it to 13-10 and later 17-15, but the damage was already done and Marquette had the space they needed to get the 25-20 victory when Carsen Murray and HVB teamed up for a block to end things.
Hope Werch led the way with 11 kills in not extremely interesting spots int he match, while Savannah Rennie was right behind her with 10. Taylor Wolf had nine to go with her 18 assists and six digs, while Claire Mosher led the team with 19 assists and Carly Skrabak had a team high 15 digs.
Up Next: Well, when you read this is relevant to how soon Marquette plays again. They’ll wrap up the Marquette Invitational on Saturday evening against Northern Iowa. Start time is scheduled for 6pm Central and I don’t think we can expect any delays from the UTSA/Wright State match at 1pm. The Marquette Wire livestream is going to have the broadcast as the student media group is handling the announcing and camera work for this one. The Panthers went 1-1 on Friday, losing 3-1 to Wright State in their first match and then beating UTSA 3-1 in the evening.