Sunday evening brought Marquette volleyball a chance to shine for the AVCA top 25 voters after falling in four sets to #6 Wisconsin on Friday night. High Point is the favorite to win the Big South this season, so they’re a quality foe that Marquette should still be favored against, and that’s how you remind voters to keep you in the top 25.
What ended up happening is Marquette did get the win, but at a glance, it was both sensible and nonsensical that it went to four sets before the Golden Eagles prevailed, 3-1.
It’ll make sense in a second.
Set #1 went back and forth to start with, but it turned in Marquette’s favor when Ella Foti capped an 8-1 run with a kill to put the Golden Eagles up 17-13. Sometimes a big run means you’re about to put the thing away…. But sometimes it’s just a setup for the other team. This was the latter as High Point immediately tied the thing up at 17 after four straight points. Eventually three straight for MU put them up 22-19, and that gave them the space they needed to hold the Panthers off for the 25-23 win.
Aubrey Hamilton closed out the first frame with a kill, which means, officially, it because a 15-0 run by Marquette when they started out the second set with a 14-0 lead. No, that’s not a joke. 14-0 for the Golden Eagles, and just three errors that weren’t blocks for High Point to help propel things to that point. The question immediately becomes “how fast can Marquette get out of this set” as well as “what does this mean for how the rest of this is going to go?” The answer to #1 is “not very.” Yes, yes, it was eventually 20-4, but that just means that High Point outscored Marquette 6-5 the rest of the way. Still, a 25-10 win is quick work, and you can’t argue with it.
Up 2-0 and coming out of a set where you led 20-4, you’d like to think that Marquette would be able to keep it together and win in straight sets, especially against a team that played #6 Wisconsin just a few hours earlier. The third set started in that direction with Foti giving the Golden Eagles a 5-1 lead out of the gate. That would kind of be the last time Marquette controlled the set, as High Point rallied to take an 11-8 lead, and then after MU tied it at 14, the Panthers went back up 19-15 on an error by MU’s Hattie Bray. Marquette tried to cut into that margin, but a 6-2 burst by HPU pushed them through to the 25-19 win to make it 2-1 in the match.
After all of that, you can’t be surprised that the fourth set looked an awful lot like a teeter-totter for a long time. Finally, eventually, kills from Foti, Jenna Reitsma, and Carsen Murray provided three of the four points in a 4-0 run to put Marquette up 19-14. High Point would close it to just two points, as close as 20-18, but the Golden Eagles said enough is enough. Three kills from three different players led to a service ace by freshman Ella Holmstrom to cap off a 5-0 run and get Marquette the 25-18 set win and the 3-1 match victory.
Three Golden Eagles got to double digits in kills in this match, and as you’d expect given how much her name came up, Ella Foti led the way with 14. Yadhira Anchante fell just short of 10 digs a set at 39 helpers to go with three kills and eight digs, while Carly Skrabak led everyone in the match with 22 digs.
Up Next: It’s not as quick of a turnaround as High Point had on Sunday, but it’ll still be a kind of quick turnaround for Marquette to Tuesday night. That will bring us the home opener of the year with a 7pm first serve against Loyola Chicago. The Ramblers are 3-3 on the year after falling 3-2 on the road against Michigan on Saturday.