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#16 Marquette Comes To The Edge Of Clinching A Big East Tournament Berth

Due to scheduling timing, the Golden Eagles won’t officially have a chance to clinch until Saturday afternoon after beating DePaul and Butler this week.

Hattie Bray
Hattie Bray had a career high kill total against DePaul on Wednesday night.
Marquette University

Thanks to wins over DePaul (30-32, 25-18, 25-20, 19-25, 15-8) on Wednesday and Butler (25-15, 26-24, 25-21) on Friday, YOUR #16 ranked Marquette volleyball team is now 20-2 on the season. It is the 12th straight full length season that the Golden Eagles have recorded at least 20 wins.

Marquette has also moved to 11-1 in Big East play, with only a loss at Creighton stopping them from an undefeated run against league foes. Thanks to other results around the league up through Friday night, Marquette is now guaranteed to finish no lower than seventh in the Big East standings, and yes, they still have six matches left to play this year. Depending on how things go on Saturday, the Golden Eagles could find themselves having clinched a top six spot in the league and thus one of the spots in the conference tournament, as the Big East expanded the field to six teams this fall.

Fun, huh?

Let’s get to the recappery.....

At a glance, Wednesday night’s match with the Blue Demons looks like it might have gone pretty smoothly for the Golden Eagles. After all, by the time it was all said and done, Marquette hit .282 in the match against just .182 for DePaul. That looks like an awfully large disparity in the hitting department, but this is a round-by-round sport to a certain extent. That’s how you can end up with things like “DePaul pushed this thing to five sets” because they only have to beat you in two sets to make that happen.

One of the two was the first set, and it’s probably the one that Marquette most wants back. After getting off to a slow start in a 3-0 hole, Marquette rang up 12 of the next 18 points for a 12-9 lead on a block by Aubrey Hamilton and Carsen Murray. DePaul woke back up, won the next four points, and slowly tilted this thing towards them. 16-14 became 18-15 became 21-16 and then 22-17. Not great for the Golden Eagles, but they buckled down. Five straight points, including two kills from Hamilton pulled MU even at 22, and the two sides started trading points. DePaul got to set point first, 24-23, on a kill by Sara Griffith. Marquette would fend off four set points before turning the frame towards them on a kill from Jenna Reitsma and a mistake by DePaul’s Taylor Underwood. The Blue Demons then postponed the end of the match three times themselves before, finally, Jill Pressly knocked together back-to-back kills and whoops, Marquette was in a 1-0 hole after a marathon 32-30 opening stanza.

Marquette came out to prove a point in the second set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before extending that to 7-1. The Golden Eagles kept putting together consecutive points to keep the home team at bay, going up 17-9 and 20-12. The Blue Demons got a few points together late in the proceedings to make it look ever so slightly less lopsided, but an ace from Jadyn Garrison closed it out and evened the match at one each.

The third set looked like it might go the way of the second as MU got out to a 5-1 lead early and kept that margin together at 10-6. But DePaul remembered that they could play with Marquette like they did in the first, eventually tying it at 10 on a kill by Aly Kindelberger. This was apparently offensive to Marquette’s soul. They promptly ripped off an 11-2 run to go up 21-12 and yet somehow that was not enough to put the Blue Demons in the ground. They bounced back with their own 6-1 run and hey, look at that, Katelynn Oxley and Taylor Underwood’s combo block made it 22-18. Does this make it look closer than it was because of that MU run in the middle? Maybe, but also maybe not since this thing went five sets. It was finally a kill from Carsen Murray as she tracked towards a career high that put MU up 2-1 through three frames.

Marquette officially got into trouble in the third when they coughed up their small early advantage and fell behind 14-10 thanks to a 7-2 run capped by a kill from Kindelberger. This is, by the way, a DePaul team that was picked to finish third in the Big East this season but has not been living up to their billing this year. For one night, at least, they looked like a team that can cause problems for Marquette and Creighton. The Golden Eagles could not get it in gear to rally, closing the margin to just three at one point before DePaul pushed away with a 4-0 run thanks to a pair of errors by Foti and Murray, and a kill from Pressly made it official: We’re playing a fifth set.

The Golden Eagles decided not to fool around with a DePaul team that was game to chomp them in the butt repeatedly. 2-0 right away, helped by an error by Kindelberger, then 4-1 on a kill by Hattie Bray as she tracked towards her own career best, and then Hamilton stepped in to put an end to things. Kill, kill, kill, combo block with Murray, kill. That’s a 5-1 run completely generated by Hamilton on the Marquette end. 10-4 Golden Eagles. That’s a six point lead where you have to score 11 before the other team scores five, and needless to say, DePaul didn’t figure out how to do that.

As mentioned, both Carsen Murray and Hattie Bray posted career highs in kills in this match. Bray led the Golden Eagles with 21 and was an absolute terror since she did that on just 34 swings to hit .500 in the match. Bray’s total was the most kills by a Marquette attacker since Allie Barber put up 23 against St. John’s in the 2019 Big East championship match. Murray was actually more dangerous, hitting .536 with two fewer errors, but she finished with “only” 17 kills for her new career best. It was actually crucially important for Marquette’s starting middles to have a big day in this match, because their top hitters just did not have it. Hamilton finished with 15, which is a good per-set average, but she hit just .196 along the way. Jenna Reitsma was worse off, hitting .098 to get to 10 kills.

Yadhira Anchante had a near-baffling 63 assists, which is also the best mark for her career, and she added 17 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. She was one of five Golden Eagles to post double digits in digs, led by 19 from Carly Skrabak.

Wanna watch some highlights, courtesy of FloSports and

Friday evening’s adventure in Indianapolis was a bit more straight forward for the Golden Eagles. It looked like it was going to be very straight forward as Marquette crushed kills to the tune of a .515 hitting percentage in the opening frame. The thing didn’t really break open until a 4-0 run in the middle left MU up 18-11 after a kill by Aubrey Hamilton, and a 4-0 run to close it made it a 10 point margin after Carsen Murray and Ella Foti rejected an attack by Mariah Grunze.

The second set is why I said “a bit more” to open that last paragraph as Butler got out to a 7-4 lead in the early going and then just kept standing there out in front of Marquette the whole time. MU would pull within one, but the Bulldogs would generate a side out and keep themselves out in front. The Golden Eagles eventually managed to tie it at 16 on a kill by Foti and again at 17 on a kill by Jenna Reitsma, but Butler answered with a 5-1 run. 22-18 all of a sudden, and things were trending towards Marquette playing into multiple sets again. But the Golden Eagles got it together, as back-to-back kills by Hattie Bray pulled them within two, and that was followed by a kill from Aubrey Hamilton and an error by Marisa Guisti. Hey, look, 22-22. And yet, it was Butler getting to set point first on a kill from Amina Shackelford, 24-23. Put up or shut up time for Marquette, and instead of letting it drift to a fourth set eventually, MU just went to extra points real quick like here: Kill by Yadhira Anchante, kill by Ella Holmstrom, kill by Reitsma, boom, 26-24, and the visitors were up 2-0.

A 3-0 run from Foti all by herself, thanks to a pair of service aces, put Marquette up 8-6 in the early going of the third set. A little later, Hamilton ripped off three straight kills and an error from Shackelford helped the Golden Eagles to a 4-0 run and a 13-8 lead. That 4-0 run turned into 7-1, and dating all the way back to that Foti stretch? That’s 11-3 favoring the Golden Eagles, and that’s how you edge a team out of a match. Butler fought back, but it was too little too late. Marquette was up 20-12, and even though the Bulldogs managed a 9-4 burst from there, the last three were all staving off match points from Marquette. Finally, it was Carsen Murray tacking on her fifth kill of the match to win it and let the Golden Eagles finish the night hitting .325 overall.

MU’s outside hitters got back on track in this one. Aubrey Hamilton led all Marquette attackers with 14 kills and she hit .278 in the match. Ella Foti was ridiculous with just one error on 17 swings to get 11 kills and hit .588. Jenna Reitsma wasn’t great, but with nine kills and hitting .167, she was better than she was two nights earlier. Hattie Bray kept her great play going with 10 kills against the Bulldogs and a .474 hitting percentage. Yadhira Anchante was outstanding with 39 of MU’s 51 assists and just missed a double-double with nine digs. Carly Skrabak was everywhere across three sets, finishing with 17 digs to lead Marquette.

How about some highlights, courtesy of FloSports and

Up Next: Marquette will open up November with a pair of home dates as four of their final six contests will be at the McGuire Center. First up on Friday, November 4th is Georgetown, with a 7pm Central time start, followed up by Villanova on Saturday starting at 6pm. Because the Big East plays an 18 game league schedule and not 20 for a full round-robin, this will be the year’s only meetings with both teams. The Hoyas (4-18, 2-9 Big East) are currently on a six match losing streak with a home date against Providence this weekend before they come to Milwaukee, while the Wildcats (7-16, 3-8 Big East) have lost six of their last eight contests at the moment. They will host UConn on October 29th and stop off at DePaul before facing the Golden Eagles.