Marquette volleyball’s first two home matches since October 1st went pretty well over the weekend. The #19 ranked Golden Eagles sped through Seton Hall (25-14, 25-11, 25-11) and St. John’s (25-23, 25-16, 25-20) and moved to 18-2 on the season and 9-1 in Big East action. Along with that, MU kept pace with Creighton, as the Bluejays remained undefeated in conference play with road wins over Villanova and Georgetown.
We can summarize MU’s Friday night win over Seton Hall very quickly. The Pirates never recorded more than eight kills in any of their three sets while the Golden Eagles reduced SHU to hitting into negative numbers in the final two sets and finishing with an overall hitting percentage of -0.032. The hitting is mostly due to the Pirates committing errors, as Marquette recorded just five blocks in the entire match. That’s how you hold a team to just 36 total points in three sets. Well, mostly how. Hitting better than .300 in every set to finish at .367 overall is a big help as well, since every time you connect with a kill, that’s a rally that your opponent doesn’t get a point.
Nitty Gritty details? Marquette went up 5-1, 8-2, and 10-3 in the first set and then blasted off a 6-0 run late in the set to really drive the point home with a 21-8 lead. By the way, this was Seton Hall’s best set of the night. Set #2 started off with three straight for the Pirates, which was answered by a 9-2 run from the Golden Eagles. That helped Marquette get out to a 12-7 lead, and after a kill from Bianca Bucciarelli, Ella Holmstrom started off a 7-0 run for MU that actually turned into 10-1. 22-9, and a pair of SHU errors from Jenna Walsh helped Marquette wrap that up in a hurry.
The third set started off back and forth like these things tend to do, and an error from Holmstrom allowed Seton Hall to tie it up at three each. The next four went to Marquette, but the Pirates stayed close. A kill from Perri Lucas made it 11-9, and it looked like it was going to be a fight. Except it wasn’t. A service error by Walsh started off another 4-0 run by the Golden Eagles to crack the door open, and then the floodgates opened. Jenna Reitsma provided a kill as the Golden Eagles scored the final nine straight points of the set to push the thing from 16-11 to 25-11 and make that thing look waaaaay more off balance than it kind of actually was.
Reitsma led MU on the night with nine kills, and she was one of six Marquette attackers with at least four swings that hit .300 or better. Yadhira Anchante had 27 of Marquette’s 39 assists in the match, while Carly Skrabak’s 11 digs led the Golden Eagles’ defensive efforts.
One very happy note about the match? Hannah Vanden Berg recorded her first kill at the McGuire Center since October 30, 2021. Vanden Berg missed the first 16 matches of this season following a knee injury that ended her 2021 campaign in early November.
Hannah Vanden Berg with her first kill at the Al McGuire Center since the fall of 2021. MU up big in the first set. #WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/VJG3X4ySS7— Marquette Volleyball (@MarquetteVB) October 22, 2022
One extra historical note to this match? It was head coach Ryan Theis’ 200th victory at Marquette. He trails only Tat Shiely and her 380 career victories amongst MU’s five head coaches in that department, but MU’s 18-2 start to this season following the win over St. John’s is merely expanding his lead in career winning percentage (75.6%) over Bond Shymansky (72.4%).
Tonight's win is the 200th in the @muathletics career of head coach Ryan Theis! He's one of only eight head coaches in @MarquetteU history to reach the mark! #WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/m2fWj2n9Af— Marquette Volleyball (@MarquetteVB) October 22, 2022
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Onwards to the St. John’s match, and this one wasn’t quite as easy for the Golden Eagles even if it did wrap up in less than 100 minutes. It looked like it was going there as Marquette got out to a 7-2 start in the first set. St. John’s answered, Marquette pushed away again, and then the Red Storm came climbing back again. A late 5-0 run by the Johnnies capped by an attack error by MU’s Aubrey Hamilton actually gave the visitors the lead, 22-21. Big early leads: good, but not fatal indicators. Hamilton helped Marquette get the lead back, 23-22, Giorgia Walther evened it at 23, and then Hamilton paired with Carsen Murray for a block followed by a kill from Jenna Reitsma, and Marquette escaped with a first set win.
Carsen Murray and Aubrey Hamilton combine on MU's fifth block of the first set to put MU at set point against SJU. #WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/BTZ8oesGI2— Marquette Volleyball (@MarquetteVB) October 22, 2022
Set #2 looked like it was going to be a closely fought affair with Rachele Rastelli pulling the Red Storm within two, 11-9, in the still somewhat early going. Then Marquette turned on the jets, rolling off a 9-2 run to go up 20-11. SJU caught a break off a handling error by Carly Skrabak, but then handed the point straight back to MU on a service error to kick off three straight for the Golden Eagles. 23-13, and it was just mathematically over when Ella Holmstrom hit the finisher.
The third set looked like St. John’s had finally figured Marquette out. The Red Storm picked up the early lead and made the Golden Eagles chase them. A pair of late kills from Rastelli gave SJU a 20-19 lead, and it looked like we were in for a duel to the finish to see if this was going to a fourth set.
Nope, didn’t happen.
- Solo block by Carsen Murray
- Combo block by Murray and Reitsma
- Kill by Reitsma
- Kill by Murray
- Solo block by Reitsma
- Kill by Murray
25-20, good night, everyone, drive home safely. In a week where questions have been asked about the mental side of Marquette vs Creighton, the Golden Eagles tightened their shoelaces and slammed the door on the Red Storm to eliminate any confusion about what was going on in this one.
Aubrey Hamilton was MU’s offensive leader here with 11 kills, one more than Jenna Reitsma. Hamilton also added four assisted blocks and two aces to finish with a team high 15 points. Carsen Murray was ridiculous for the Golden Eagles here, posting seven kills on 11 swings — .636!! — along with two solo blocks and seven assisted blocks to help propel MU to a season high 13 stuffs in the match.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FloSports and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: The Golden Eagles will keep up their quest to stay within a game of Creighton in the standings with a split up pair of matches this coming week. First up is a Wednesday night visit to DePaul, and that will be followed with a Friday evening contest in Indianapolis against Butler. The Blue Demons snapped a five match losing streak by topping Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon, while the Bulldogs evened their record in league play at 5-5 with a 3-1 win at Providence on Saturday.