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Marquette women’s volleyball team defeated by Pitt in last Big East game

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,”The Marquette women's volleyball team lost a disappointing 3-0 game to Pittsburgh in its last Big East game of the year (25-20, 25-18, 25-17).

Pittsburgh, ranked No. 6 in the Big East, is now qualified for the Big East Championship.

Interim head coach Erica Heisser and assistant coach Raftyn Rignell said Marquette's blocking and defense held the team back.

"Defense and blocking is our bread and butter so when that struggled I think our front line really wasn't used to that," Rignell said.

The defense's struggle was obvious, with Pittsburgh making 26 digs to Marquette's 17. Freshman libero Amy Deelo recorded zero digs, a first for her this season.

Freshman Ciara Jones said she was unhappy with the team's play, calling the game "horrible."

"We just weren't playing together, it was bad all together. I don't even know what to say about it," Jones said.

During the first set, Marquette started off strong with a kill by outside hitter Leslie Bielski. Marquette then went on a 6-1 run, taking the score to 10-2. However the Golden Eagles could not hold down Pittsburgh, who eventually climbed their way to a 20-25 win.

Pittsburgh almost doubled Marquette in assists, 13 to seven, and tripled them in digs, 12 to four. Pittsburgh also made six blocks to Marquette's zero.

During the second set, the Golden Eagles put up a better fight, tagging behind Pittsburgh until 11-14, when the Panthers took off to a 25-18 win.

Outside hitter Ashlee Fisher made four kills, recording a .667 hitting average. Yet the team's overall average sat at .200, low compared to the Panthers' .636. Marquette stepped up its blocking, making five to the Panther's two, but their defense still struggled, recording just two digs.

The third set followed closely to the second set. The Panthers went on a 5-0 run at 13-17, and the Golden Eagles never caught up. The match ended at 17-25.

Fisher said she thought the team lacked energy.

"I felt like there was nobody there on the court," Fisher said. "We'd score points and everybody's face would be blank. We didn't have the fight or the energy."

Bielski agreed the team didn't have energy, and thought the blocking wavered.

"We all really wanted to win, but things just didn't work out our way," Bielski said. "We were trying way to hard and some of us went our separate ways instead of sticking together as a team. Spurts of blocking definitely came and went and the defense was a little off."

Freshman middle blocker Tiara Russell, whose strength is blocking, said she thought she made good kills, but faltered in blocking. Russell recorded six kills but only two blocks.

"I thought I accomplished a lot with my hitting but my blocking should have been up there," Russell said. "We needed more communication—we lost that at our end game."

Marquette has this weekend off as they prepare for the Thanksgiving Tournament at Western Michigan.

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