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#16 Marquette Volleyball Falls To #21 Creighton; Sweeps Xavier

It was the end of a 13 match winning streak over the weekend, but hopefully the start of a new one.

Jenna Reitsma
Jenna Reitsma had a big day on Sunday to help the Golden Eagles bounce back from their first Big East loss.
Marquette University

Well, the yearly Big East volleyball showdown in Omaha went the same way it has gone every single year since The Reformation: Creighton beat Marquette. In this case, it was the #21 ranked Bluejays bouncing back from an 0-2 hole that the #16 ranked Golden Eagles put them in to get the 3-2 (21-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 15-8) reverse sweep victory.

That was Friday night, ending Marquette’s winning streak at 13 consecutive matches and six straight to start Big East play. Sunday afternoon brought the Golden Eagles to Cincinnati for a showdown with Xavier. That one was not without its rough spots, but Marquette ended up walking away from Cintas Center with a 3-0 (28-26, 25-22, 25-13) win. That leaves MU with a record of 7-1 in Big East play, which means they are alone in second place, one game behind 8-0 Creighton after the Bluejays had to take five sets to beat DePaul on Sunday as well as one game in front of 6-2 St. John’s.

If we’re being honest, for the purpose of telling the story of what happened, we can fast forward all the way to late in the third set against Creighton on Friday night. Marquette looked really good through the first two sets, hitting better than .310 in both of them and slamming the door shut on the Bluejays in both as well. That last part is useful to keep in mind as we move along to Ella Foti’s kill that ties the frame at 17 each. Not that long earlier, MU had ripped off six straight points to move into a 13-13 tie, and the two teams were effectively just trading points up through 17.

And then Creighton scored the next six. 23-17 Bluejays, and Marquette was dead in the water for the third set.

Okay, fine, you can’t just expect to walk into D.J. Sokol Arena and expect a ranked Creighton team to roll over for you, you have to go out and beat them. Fine.

5-0 Creighton out of the gate in the fourth, including one point that was reversed upon challenge by the Bluejays coaching staff, and that turned into 9-1. Over before it started, effectively, and a kill from Norah Sis prolonged the thing to a fifth set.

Before we go there, I want to make this point. Between the very bad end to the third and the 18-9 start to the fourth, that’s a 26-11 stretch in Creighton’s favor. That’s a full set’s worth of points there, and Creighton was just eviscerating the Golden Eagles, something that really just should not happen if you want to have a reasonable chance of winning on the road against this CU squad.

So, the fifth? 3-0 Creighton right off the bat, and 8-2 as Kiara Reinhardt and Kendra Wait stuffed an attack by Aubrey Hamilton. Dead in the water again. Sure, Marquette was able to get the next four to get it within two, but the effort just to get it that close meant that Creighton had a chance to recover and respond to it. Which is how they scored five of the final six points of the match to finish off the reverse sweep, and it did not help that three of the Bluejays’ final four points came on Marquette errors. Not blocks, just strikes that went awry.

Highlights, such as they are, courtesy of FloSports and

Moving on, because the less said about it, the better..... except head coach Ryan Theis is probably going to say an awful lot about how that Creighton match may have effected the Golden Eagles 40 hours later in Cincinnati. After a 4-2 start by the Golden Eagles (perfectly normal volleyball imo), Xavier made Marquette chase them. 10-7 Musketeers on an ace by Carrigan O’Reilly, but Marquette rallied to go up 16-14. Next four points went to Xavier as part of a 6-1 run to give the home team a 20-17 lead. 21-18, then three straight capped by a kill from Anna Taylor to put Xavier up 24-20. Yes. Set point Xavier with a four point lead.

“But didn’t Marquette sweep Xavier?” SURE DID. Yadhira Anchante, Jenna Reitsma ace, Aubrey Hamilton, Reitsma ace, boom, Marquette tied it up at 24-all. FOUR STRAIGHT SET POINTS FENDED OFF to keep the set alive. Hattie Bray and Hamilton stuffed Taylor, 25-24 Marquette. Xavier fended off a pair of set points of their own, but finally an error by Delaney Hogan and then Yadhira Anchante got the Musketeers to completely go to sleep for a service ace that all six women just watched land in the back row. 28-26 Marquette for a 1-0 lead. Insane.

Marquette did not get woken up by this threat to lose a fourth straight set, and Xavier opened up the second with five straight points to go up 6-3. XU maintained the lead to 9-6..... and then Marquette ran off eight straight. Most of them were points Marquette won, but it did start trending towards Xavier errors towards the end as the Musketeers might have started pressing to break it up.

They did make a push, getting it to 15-13 when Reitsma couldn’t connect on a swing. Xavier stayed in the neighborhood, getting it within two again at 18-16 off an error by Hamilton. 20-16 Marquette.... 21-19, and then 22-21, and then 23-22. Teetering on the edge, even after an 8-0 run to seize control, but Bray knocked on down and another ace from Jenna Reitsma closed it out.

Still Marquette wasn’t fully up and running, as Xavier scored three straight to get within one at 9-8 in the third set. A 6-1 burst made it 15-9, and that seemed to juvenate the Golden Eagles. Maybe because they could see the finish line in the distance, but they went hard for it. Marquette powered through to the 3-0 win on a 9-2 run, and it was Carsen Murray that got to do the honors to secure the win.

Reitsma led the team in this one, getting 13 kills and 12 digs while hitting .333 against the Musketeers. Hamilton joined her in double digit kill town with 12 on a .313 hitting afternoon, while Carly Skrabak topped Reitsma in digs with a match high 16. Yadhira Anchante was rolling with 38 assists in just three sets, and that doesn’t count the four kills she laid down herself.

Here’s the highlights, once again from FloSports and

Up Next: The Golden Eagles return to the Al McGuire Center after two straight weekends of competition on the road. Remember the aforementioned third place St. John’s team? They’ll be coming in next weekend, but that’s Saturday afternoon’s match. Before that, MU will tangle with Seton Hall on Friday night with first serve set for 7pm Central. Saturday brings not just the Johnnies, but Trick Or Treat At The Al for the 4pm start against the Red Storm.