The best start in program history continued for Marquette volleyball this weekend with the #19 ranked Golden Eagles picking up 3-0 wins over Connecticut (25-18, 25-21, 25-18) and Providence (25-14, 25-16, 25-16). With the wins, Marquette is now 13-1 on the year, 4-0 in the Big East, riding an 11 match winning streak with only a loss to the reigning national champions marring their record, and a perfect 10-0 at home in 2022.
Let’s start with the UConn match because you should start at the very beginning like Fraulein Maria said. After the Huskies opened up 3-1, Marquette said “nah.” A 12-5 run by the Golden Eagles capped by a kill from Aubrey Hamilton made it 13-8 MU and that was actually pretty much that in the first set, and if it wasn’t, a late 5-1 burst made it very convincing. The second set was much more interesting, even after the Golden Eagles opened up a very similar 13-7 lead after a Jenna Reitsma kill. One of the kills in there? A setter kill from libero Carly Skrabak, which is neat. If you thought defending Marquette was a pain in the ass because setter Yadhira Anchante averages a kill per set, well, have fun with this going forward.
Some trickery from Carly Skrabak! #WeAerMarquette pic.twitter.com/CAKsU3FGNK— Marquette Volleyball (@MarquetteVB) October 1, 2022
UConn nudged their way back in and an error by Hamilton let the Huskies knot the show up at 20. Intriguing, yes? Well, maybe not. Kennadie Jake-Turner committed a service error to allow the Golden Eagles to score five of the final six points, and Carsen Murray made it very clear what was going on as she wrapped up the match by decimating an overpass, scoring a solo block, and then partnering with Ella Holmstom for a block for set point.
Third set! Time for drama! Connecticut took the lessons learned from the first two sets and struck out to a 9-6 lead on the Golden Eagles after MU’s Ella Foti committed an error. After that? Well, let’s put it this way, as the MUTV broadcast made a very minor production gaffe while updating the score that actually tells the tale:
Sometimes a minor production boo boo explains what’s actually happening in the game very well pic.twitter.com/wIf3TlCTUa— Anonymous Eagle (@AnonymousEagle) October 1, 2022
They were attempting to change it from 20-12 to 21-12 and for a moment, ended up with 120-12. Yeah. Marquette went on an 11-1 run to tilt the thing, and if you wanted to, you could call it 15-3, that just sounds less dramatic than 11-1. UConn did answer with four straight after that, but it was too little, too late, and back-to-back errors by the Huskies handed MU the 3-0 win.
Marquette scattered their 40 kills around the roster somewhat evenly, with Hamilton leading the way and five different women getting at least five. Anchante had 32 assists to average at least 10 in the contest, while Reitsma topped the digs chart with 10.
Onwards to Saturday evening, where Marquette kept their perfect all-time series record against Providence intact and ran their sweep streak against the Friars to 15 straight matches. It would appear that head coach Ryan Theis’ biggest concerns heading into the match were 1) Get some rest for his regular rotation and 2) get some game time minutes for his bench. Are these things the same thing? Maybe, maybe not, but Anastasija Svetnik and Sienna Ifill got their first starts of the season in this contest, and yes, that’s the first career start for Ifill. By the time the third set was finished, every single player on the active roster got into the game with 11 women playing in at least two of the sets. Of the usual starting seven, only Carly Skrabak, Hattie Bray, and Yadhira Anchante played in all three sets which means, yes, none of Marquette’s outside hitters played in all three.
Was it a calculated gamble by Theis? Maybe, considering the Friars were 8-7 on the year but 0-3 in Big East play coming into Saturday evening. Did it pay off? Sure did, as the Golden Eagles went on an 11-2 run to take a 12-5 lead in the first set. Of MU’s first 13 points, three came from Svetnik, and Ifill got on the board for point #15. Soon it was 19-9 favoring the Golden Eagles, and Aubrey Hamilton put the closing note on a 4-1 burst to end the first set.
Set #2 maybe made Theis question his decision making as the Friars put themselves up 9-7 on a kill by Emma Nelson. And then a 7-0 run probably made him feel better. That turned into 10-2 as Svetnik put the Golden Eagles up 17-11, and a late 5-1 stretch featuring a 3-0 run by Bray herself put the thing out of reach from Providence.
Hamilton clearly had enough of Providence’s nonsense in the third set as she had four kills in a 5-0 run to turn a 10-10 tie into a 15-10 Marquette lead. The Friars would wander that thing back to a three point advantage at 18-15, but the Golden Eagles got out of there with seven of the final eight points. I’d love to tell you more about exactly what happened in the match, but as PBP man Bob Brainerd said at some point, the internet gremlins were hard at work on the FloSports streaming broadcast. This literally happened late in the third set:
[TV displays “technical difficulties” animation]
MrsB, half-watching while in and out of the room: Is the match over?
Me: Well, yes in the way that Marquette was up notably last time the video was working, but no in the way that it’s not to 25 y—
[Video stream returns with the post game victory light show running]
To draw home Ryan Theis’ strategic decision making: Hattie Bray led Marquette in kills, positing a career high 11 on an error free 17 swings for a hitting percentage of .647. Hamilton joined her in double-digit town with 10, and she did that on just two sets worth of participation. We should note that Svetnik had a Marquette career high six kills on seven swings in the match, which is neat, especially as she works her way back into the lineup after a knee injury. Anchante fell just short of averaging 10 assists per set with 29, but that’s what happens when the coaching staff turns the last stretch of the third over to Caroline Dragani. Skrabak returned to the top of the chart in digs with 14.
Wanna watch some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Up Next: Marquette ventures out onto the road for the first time since September 4th! They’ll take their winning streak out to the New York City area next weekend for a pair of matches against Seton Hall and St. John’s. That’s a big weekend for the Golden Eagles, who are currently tied with Creighton at 4-0 in first place in the Big East. The Pirates and the Red Storm are both 3-1 and tied for second place in the league, so those two matches will go a long way towards potentially solidifying MU’s spot (and I guess CU’s as well) atop the league.