This weekend brought #17 Marquette volleyball two more wins. They went out to the east coast and came back with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-14) win over Providence on Saturday and a 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-19) victory over Connecticut. That moves the Golden Eagles to 24-2 on the season and 15-1 in Big East play. Those wins also move Marquette within one step of forcing a Big East championship match next weekend when Creighton comes to Milwaukee for the regular season finale.
But more on that later.
Marquette got off to a quick start against Providence on Saturday, reacting to PC taking the first point by winning the next five for a 5-1 lead early. In the middle of the deal, they busted out a 10-3 run to go up 20-10, and even with the Friars wining the next four points, MU was still up comfortably and ran off five of the final six points of the frame. Providence helped MU out at the end, with the final two points of the first set coming by way of attack errors.
Providence got it together in the second set and turned the usual early back and forth into a 14-9 lead after a 7-1 run. That kept building out to 17-10 as Brielle Mullally and Kayla Grant stuffed an Aubrey Hamilton attack, and it certainly looked like Marquette was going to drop a set for just the second time in an eight match span.
That did not happen.
Five straight from the Golden Eagles, helped along by two attack errors and a Caroline Dragani ace pulled the Golden Eagles within two. Dragani whiffed on a serve and Hamilton missed on a swing to hand the Friars two points to make it 19-15 and start to inch this thing towards real danger. BANG, five more in a row for a 20-19 Marquette lead, capped by a kill from Carsen Murray. Order was restored to the universe, and the Golden Eagles closed the set on a 5-1 run, with only a Hamilton service error letting the Friars stay within four points at the end of the set. All told, that’s a 15-4 run by the Golden Eagles to take the second set and go up 2-0.
Providence started off the third set with the mindset of “no, seriously, we can do this, we were there for most of that last one.” 4-0 Friars out of the gate, including a pair of service aces from Sammie Ruggles. And then Marquette said, “yeah, okay, we see you and we raise you.” SIX STRAIGHT for the Golden Eagles to start off a 16-2 run that left Marquette up 16-6. Yep. That was pretty much that, as PC was only able to close the gap to as few as eight points the rest of the way and head coach Ryan Theis emptied his bench which allowed Sienna Ifill to record match point.
Marquette only needed 39 kills in this match to get to 75 points, as they held Providence to just .115 hitting and forced them into 17 errors across the three sets. Aubrey Hamilton and Ella Foti tied for the team lead in kills with nine each, and it was Foti who was the most efficient attacker, hitting .562 on the day. Yadhira Anchante made good use of MU’s limited chances to get kills, registering 30 assists in the contest. Carly Skrabak and Jenna Reitsma were both on fire on the defensive end of things, recording 19 and 13 digs respectively.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
With UConn playing for seeding in the conference tournament and riding a 9 out of their last 10 hot streak after sweeping DePaul on Saturday, it’s no surprise that they were ready to give Marquette a challenge on Sunday. It was a tight back and forth affair through the first half of the first set, with UConn popping off a 5-1 burst to take a 15-14 lead on the Golden Eagles. MU then steered it in their direction with Hattie Bray triggering a 6-2 offensive injection for the Golden Eagles. That’s 20-17 Marquette there, and that was just enough of a window for the visitors to hold off the home team to get to 25 first.
The Huskies got out to the early lead in the second set, 4-1, with Caylee Parker recording kills for three of their points. MU edged their way within shouting distance and then reeled off five straight to go up 8-5 off an ace by Aubrey Hamilton. UConn bounced back to tie it at 10 each before MU ripped off five out of the next six for a 15-11 lead off a, wait for it, kill by Hamilton. Just a couple more rallies later, and that 5-1 became 8-2, and the Golden Eagles were up 18-12 and in control. A three point burst powered by a Jenna Reitsma kill along with Reitsma partnering with Carsen Murray on a block kept the margin at six before a Bray kill and a solo block by Reitsma closed it out and had the Golden Eagles up 2-0.
It was Marquette with the good start in the third, asserting themselves and staking out a 5-1 lead. The Huskies did not go quietly into that good night, bouncing back to tie the thing up at seven-all and again at eight. That was part of a longer push by UConn that eventually ended up with Parker giving them a 14-11 lead midway through. That’s when Marquette said “nah, we’re not doing this. Three straight, including an ace from Caroline Dragani, knotted it at 14, and then another four straight, this time with an ace from Yadhira Anchante, then another three straight all by Murray. 21-16 Marquette, and the finish line was in sight. A simple run of trading points, and Reitsma shut it down for the day with a kill.
This is one of those matches where you say “ah, yes, good work Marquette to fend off a clearly game UConn team.” But also MU ran away with this, hitting .324 and holding the Huskies to just .175 by the end of it. I’m guessing this is a “Marquette did a great job closing, so you remember the back and forth but the end totals are very tipped in their favor” situation.
Aubrey Hamilton led the Golden Eagles with 13 kills, but Marquette’s middles were feasting. Carsen Murray finished with 12 kills on an error free 20 swings to hit .600 across three sets, while Hattie Bray went for 9-1-14 and hit .571. Depending on how you look at the whole thing, it’s a whole different ballgame when you’re getting such great secondary scoring from your middles…. Or Marquette’s really good because they just have lots of scoring from lots of places.
Yadhira Anchante got to 36 assists to average 12 per set in this one and boost up her average and she had a double double to boot. She had 11 digs, trailing Carly Skrabak by just one for the team lead.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Up Next: Just two regular season matches remain for Marquette. The Golden Eagles enter the final weekend of the regular season already locked into a top two finish in the Big East, but whether or not they are the top seed or even Big East champion remains in doubt. They will host Xavier this coming Friday night, with first serve set for 7pm Central. If Marquette gets through that with a win, it will set up a Big East championship match on Saturday when currently unbeaten Creighton wraps up the regular season at the McGuire Center. The Bluejays will have to visit DePaul on Friday night before making their way north on I-94 to close out the campaign.