It was a big weekend out east for Marquette volleyball on a lot of levels.
First, picking up a 3-1 win over UConn and a 3-0 win over Providence moved Marquette back above .500 on the season, as they now stand at 8-7 overall.
Second, the pair of contests move Marquette to 4-0 in Big East play, and it’s always a good thing when you keep that zero in the league record.
And finally, thanks to other results around the conference, Marquette is now the only undefeated team left standing in the Big East. There’s a four-way logjam for second at 3-1, including Creighton, Marquette’s biggest rival for the league crown.
Marquette found themselves in Problem Town pretty early against UConn on Saturday afternoon. After a standard issue back-and-forth start to a 4-4 tie, the Huskies popped off a 6-1 run and took control of things. Marquette managed to cut the margin to just two points at 15-13 on a kill by Carsen Murray but they couldn’t do better than that, and a kill from Audrey Rome had the home team up one set to nothing.
The Golden Eagles had a little bit of an edge in the second set, going up 12-7 early on a kill from Aubrey Hamilton, and that’s when things got wild. A 7-1 run capped by a trio of attack errors by the Huskies pushed the MU margin to 10 points, 19-9, and then MU closed out the set on a 6-1 run with Ella Foti providing the exclamation point.
A 6-2 start to the third set for Marquette made it a 19-5 overall run for the Golden Eagles to put their arms around what was going on in Storrs. With that said, it was still interesting midway through the third as a block on Foti by Taylor Pannell and Emma Werkmeister pulled the Huskies within four, 16-12.
That’s when Hattie Bray decided that she had seen enough. Kill, solo block, never had a chance because Foti fired an ace, team up block with Yadhira Anchante. That’s the first four points of an 8-0 run that became 9-1 to finish out the set at 25-13.
UConn grabbed up the lead right away in the fourth set, going up 8-4 when Eli Adams stuffed Jenna Reitsma. Marquette answered with a 6-1 run to go up 10-9, and that turned into 11-3 after a setting error by Doga Kutlu. That still only made the lead 15-11, and things stayed competitive down the stretch. MU needed to make some plays to get to 24-19, and after the Huskies fended off match point three times, Bray and Anchante partnered up to get the stuff and wrap up the victory.
After that wild start for the Huskies, Marquette ultimately held their foes to hit just .158 in the match. UConn was sub-zero in the second set and just barely above zero in the third at .067. The Golden Eagles were led by 13 kills from Aubrey Hamilton who finished the match hitting .400 with just one error. Jenna Reitsma added 10, but she had to fight through seven errors on her team high 37 swings to get there while hitting .081. Yadhira Anchante just missed a double-double on 37 assists and nine digs, while Sarah Kushner led the Golden Eagles on the defensive end with 17 digs.
How about some highlights from UConn’s Volleyball Complex, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Marquette’s Sunday afternoon contest in Rhode Island hit the ends of the spectrum in terms of competitive level. In the first set, the Golden Eagles hit .457 and held Providence to a flat .000 hitting percentage. The set took off in MU’s direction after the Friars kept it within shouting distance at 10-7. The next point was a kill from Carsen Murray, and that triggered a 10-0 run for the Golden Eagles. At that point, they’re just mopping up, and ultimately, they held the Friars to just nine points in the stanza.
In retrospect, you have to wonder if Marquette might have been a little bit better off if they had let Providence get a few more points in the first set. Maybe holding them to just nine lit a fire under the Friars. They were able to get an early lead in the set and they fended off a Marquette charge as the set went along. With that said, the Golden Eagles did get to set point first at 24-23. Providence bowed up to fend off set point twice and then put themselves in position to win the set at 26-25 when they stuffed an Aubrey Hamilton attack. The next point was a PC service error though, and after an ace from Yadhira Anchante and a kill from Ella Foti, Marquette had themselves a 28-26 win.
Marquette jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third set and from there, that was almost just about it. 14-5, 16-6, 23-11, and Ella Holmstrom came off the bench to close the match out with a kill.
Aubrey Hamilton continued her great weekend, recording 16 kills and hitting .406. She was backed by 10 error free kills from Carsen Murray, who also had a team high four assisted blocks on this day.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FloSports and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: We’ve got a bit of a change of pace for Marquette this week, as they’ll play two home matches, but not on the usual weekend timing. It’ll be DePaul at the McGuire Center for a matinee for Field Trip Day on Wednesday, and then it’s Creighton in the building on Friday night at 7pm CT. The Blue Demons have won three straight after beating Connecticut in five sets on Sunday, while the Bluejays are 3-1 in Big East action after following up their loss to Xavier with sweeps of St. John’s and Seton Hall this weekend.