Is a 13 match winning streak good? I’m asking for Marquette volleyball.
That’s where they stand now after heading out to the east coast and coming back with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 26-24) win over St. John’s on Friday evening and a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-16) win over Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles are now 15-1 on the season and 6-0 in Big East play while nine of the other 10 teams in the league have at least two losses now.
Let’s talk about Friday’s match with St. John’s first. It’s a mostly simple concept, as the Golden Eagles got out to an early 7-2 lead in the first set. The Johnnies cut it to 8-6 before MU pushed it back to to 12-6 on an attacking error by SJU. Couple of points here, couple of points there, and the Golden Eagles were able to hold the Red Storm at bay for the rest of the way. Set 2 had a 4-1 lead early before St. John’s took the next four and then MU took the next four after that. 8-5 Marquette at that point, and officially, the Golden Eagles never trailed or were even tied again...... but the Johnnies did run off four straight very late to turn 23-18 to 23-22, and they even made it 24-23 as Rachele Rastelli fended off a set point before Aubrey Hamilton brought it in for the Golden Eagles.
Relatively simple wins for Marquette as they hit .250 and .184 in the first two sets versus .091 and .143 for the Red Storm. Set #3? A little more fraught. St. John’s got out to a 4-2 early lead, but a 6-1 Marquette run made it 9-5, which eventually became 13-7. That looks like roughly how the other sets were going, yeah? How about this? A solo block by Hattie Bray made it 19-11 Marquette. Looks like it’s sailing home, right? 4-0 to St. John’s became 5-1 which turned into 8-2 that evolved into 10-3 and finally to 13-5 as back-to-back errors by Ella Foti and Jenna Reitsma allowed the Red Storm to tie it up at 24. Drama!
No, not so much. After a Marquette timeout to clean things up, the exact two women, Reitsma and Foti, came out and cracked down kills to wrap it up, 26-24. It’s the first time MU had to go to extra points this season since the third set against Loyola Chicago on September 6th in the home opener and just the second time this season. Still, a win’s a win.
Carsen Murray was a star for the Golden Eagles in this one, tying Hamilton for the team high in kills with 11. However, Murray did it on just 16 swings with just one error for a hitting percentage of .625. She also added a solo block and four assisted stuffs to lead the team in points with 14. Reitsma overcame a .091 hitting percentage to get to 10 kills in the match and a double-double on a match high 13 digs. Yadhira Anchante had a double-double as well, tacking on 10 digs to her match high 39 assists in just three sets.
I don’t know precisely what head coach Ryan Theis said to his team in between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but the message for their match against the biggest surprise team in the Big East so far this season seems relatively clear: “Hey, St. John’s pushed us to extra points in that third set, that wasn’t fun, let’s not do that again.”
Marquette hit at least .286 in all three sets against Seton Hall while keeping the Pirates at .118 or below, and as a result, the Golden Eagles were never really challenged that hard all afternoon long. After a 6-6 tie in the first set, MU scored 10 of the next 12 points to go up 16-8 and then put up another five straight a little later on to take a 21-11 lead. SHU knocked together a few points, but never really threatened and MU induced an attack error to close out the first frame.
Seton Hall held on a little bit longer in the second, going up 7-5 in the early going. Marquette then doubled up the Pirates, going on a 14-7 run featuring four kills from Hattie Bray. That made it 19-12 favoring the Golden Eagles, and while the Pirates did pull within five, 22-17, MU was never in any danger before Jenna Reitsma closed that game out.
The message may have been reemphasized in between #2 and #3, because as much as Marquette ran through the Pirates in the first two, they weren’t in firm control from the get go. This time? 7-3 opening for Marquette was very good, but it turned into a 13-1 to lead 14-4. An 8-2 run made it a 22-9 score, and that was pretty much that. I’m guessing Theis wasn’t thrilled about the 5-0 Seton Hall run, but MU was still up eight, and Aubrey Hamilton closed it out with a kill.
That last kill got her to 10 on the day, but that left her one behind Reitsma for the team lead. It was a great day for her, as she hit .318 in a big bounce back from her rough outing less than 24 hours earlier. Reitsma also had another double-double as she added 12 digs. Anchante had a whopping 38 assists in three sets on just 47 kills by Marquette, while Carly Skrabak had a match high 17 digs for the Golden Eagles.
Up Next: Who’s ready to decide first place in the Big East? It will be on the line next week Friday in Omaha, as 6-0 Marquette visits 6-0 Creighton. First serve is scheduled for 6:30pm Central time, and FloSports will have the streaming broadcast. That will be the first match of the weekend for Marquette, as they’ll travel to Cincinnati to see Xavier on Sunday as well.