Marquette Wire

Women’s volleyball does it again

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Volleyball is made up of three simple steps: a bump, a set, and a spike. Of those three, the spike is the one that gets the most notoriety. Get 15 kills and people will be talking.

The set assist also gets its due, though with much less fanfare than the kill. Get 35 of those and some recognition will follow.

Then there’s the lonely bump, the most crucial element of the game and the one that gets the least amount of ink. Without a bump, neither a set nor the spike can occur. It should come as no surprise then to see coaches key in on passing over every other aspect of the game. Marquette women’s volleyball coach Bond Shymansky stressed passing as the key to last weekend, featuring three victories and a loss against Ohio State.

“When we passed great we were unstoppable,” Shymansky said. “When we passed poorly we made a lot of dumb errors and we need to just reduce that.”

Marquette had seven serve receive errors in the match and had trouble getting Ohio State serve to Nikki Klingsporn, the setter. Many of the passes made were off the mark, and even though they might not be counted as errors, they prevented Marquette from running the plays that were called.

When the passes were crisp, the offense was dynamic. Marquette ran a much quicker set and hitters were hitting against less blockers. This led to a much higher hitting percentage and many more points. Against Western Michigan, a Sweet 16 team from last season, 80 digs for the Golden Eagles led to a very good .318 hitting percentage.

Serving was another key factor this weekend, especially against Ohio State. Marquette missed six serves in the first set, a set they only lost by three points.

“I think a lot of that was just nerves driven,” Shymansky said. “We knew it was a big match and we didn’t respond well in that moment. That’s a ridiculous stat and the team knew it so we said ‘Hey, keep playing great volleyball,’ and sure enough, we did.”

For the weekend, Marquette totaled 16 missed serves, nine of those coming in the match against the Buckeyes and tallied 18 aces, six of them against Ohio State.

“The tools are there, we just have to make sure that we’re focused the whole way through,” Shymansky said.
All of this focus on the negative aspects is not indicative of the all-around play this weekend though. Marquette went 3-1 overall and posted its second consecutive perfect record at a tournament by going 3-0 at the Panther Invitational. The Golden Eagles beat a Sweet 16 team and defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee to complete the sweep of UW-Milwaukee sports teams by Marquette.

“This was a good weekend for us. We keep ramping it up as the competition keeps getting stronger and stronger,” Shymansky said.

Junior Leslie Bielski is enthused with the team’s early success and is excited for league play to begin.

“I am more than happy,” Bielski said. “It’s just such a good start to the season, I mean we haven’t started league play yet and we’re kicking butt.”

Klingsporn had only positive thoughts coming out of the weekend.

“It was great volleyball for our team,” said Klingsporn. “(Ohio State) was probably the best we’ve played all year throughout the entire match.”

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