For a fleeting moment on Friday night, it looked like Marquette volleyball was on the verge of knocking off a top 15 team on the road for the second time in this still very young season. But #6 Wisconsin is ranked in the top 10 for a reason, and the Badgers came up with the 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-21) victory against the Golden Eagles at the Field House in Madison. Marquette is now 2-1 on the season.
In retrospect, Marquette letting a 19-18 lead late in the first set looks like a very big deal. At the time? Eh, more of a “well, you really shouldn’t do that against the #6 team in the country in their building” kind of a thing, but the point of the story is that Marquette looked like they were going to give the Badgers a competitive match.
That’s not the story of the match, though. The story of the match starts after the Golden Eagles managed to close out the Badgers in the second set. 20-18 Marquette got tied up at 20, and then 21, and then 23, but a kill from Aubrey Hamilton and an error by UW’s Sarah Franklin let Marquette knot the match at one set each. Set #3? Well, a 11-4 Golden Eagles run put the visitors up 13-5. That’s exactly the kind of start to the set that you want after you slammed the door on the second set right in Wisconsin’s face.
The next 61 points of the match? 41-20 favoring the Badgers. They won the third set 25-21 and then opened up a 21-12 lead on the Golden Eagles deep into the fourth frame. If you want it a bit more boiled down, you could just look at the 28-11 disparity that led to Wisconsin going up 8-3 very early in the fourth. That’s the whole match right there. Mix in a healthy dash of “y’know, y’all should probably have been up 2-0 going into the third,” and that is one that Marquette is going to absolutely want back.
It’s hard to be truly upset about it, because winning on the road against a top 10 team is hard! Plus, MU already has a road win over the SEC favorites in their back pocket, so it’s not like they needed the win to prop up their NCAA tournament profile. It’s just a match that’s going to linger in MU’s minds for a while. The key for the Golden Eagles, particularly for the coaching staff, is to keep it in the forefront of everyone’s minds, I think. “Hey, we were 5% away from being able to beat the #6 team in the country. Play like that every night, and we’re going to be very good.”
Marquette was led on the night by 15 kills from Jenna Reitsma, who hit a totally fine .256 on 39 attacks and added 12 digs for a double-double. Ella Foti was great, particularly for a converted setter with 12 kills. Both Hamilton and Yadhira Anchante joined Reitsma in double-double town with 11 kills/10 digs and 41 assists/11 digs respectively. Carly Skrabak averaged exactly four digs a set in the match to finish with 16 on the night.
How about some highlights, courtesy of Big Ten Network and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette will be back in action on Sunday evening when they square off with High Point in Madison. That will be MU’s only game of the day with a 6pm Central start, while the Panthers will tangle with Wisconsin at 1pm CT. HPU moved to 4-1 on the season after playing twice on Friday as they beat Furman 3-1 but then got swept by Kennesaw State in a pair of contests hosted by KSU.