Now or never for the Golden Eagles

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WVBALL

The women's volleyball team is biting its nails as the Big East season comes to a close.

“This Is It” is the blockbuster movie about the concert preparations for Michael Jackson’s tour that never happened, but it also describes the upcoming weekend for the women’s volleyball team.

With one Big East match remaining, Marquette will have to win against Villanova this Sunday and hope for results to get into the Big East Tournament.

“It will be tough,” said freshman Carol Henney. “It’s out of our control and we will know before our match even happens if we’re in it or not.”

There are four teams vying for eighth place in the Big East and the last invite to the conference tournament: Villanova at 5-7, West Virginia at 5-7, Seton Hall at 5-7 and Marquette at 5-8.

There is only one way Marquette would be able to get that coveted eighth-place spot and it is not a simple scenario.

“Villanova has to win at Syracuse and lose here on Sunday,” coach Bond Shymansky said. “Rutgers has to win at West Virginia. Seton Hall has to lose at Pittsburgh and then win at West Virginia.

“Those are all the things that need to happen for us to get into the Big East because of the tiebreaker situation.”

These exact results would leave a three-way tie for eighth place between Marquette, Villanova and Seton Hall, which would all have a 6-8 conference record.

It gets even more cloudy because any other combination of results, even if they left Marquette in a three or four-way tie for eighth, would leave the Golden Eagles on the outside looking in. It only gets worse from here.

For three-way tiebreakers, as explained by Shymansky, a “mini-conference” is formed among the three teams and the winner is the team who has the best record within the “mini-conference.”

“If we were in a three-way tie with Villanova, Seton Hall and us, we would all be 1-1,” Shymansky said. “Then after that it goes to overall games and that’s where we’d have the edge —overall games played, won and lost, in conference. That’s where we’d have the edge over both of those teams.”

Any tiebreaker that includes West Virginia however, would keep Marquette out of the playoffs, whether it’s in a three or four-way tiebreak.

“It’s convoluted and it’s complicated and we’re not exactly counting on it but we’re also just going to be sitting and watching,” Shymansky said. “Friday we don’t play so we’ll know exactly what’s out there for us.”

Were the miracle to happen, Marquette would still need to take care of business at home against the Wildcats.

“What we know about Villanova is that they are a team that is desperately striving to win two matches on the road this weekend,” Shymansky said. “That’s their entry into the Big East Tournament. We’re likely to get a face full of Wildcats on Sunday. They’re going to be aggressive and they’re going to want to win.”

Whether they are eliminated by then or not, the Golden Eagles will still play with heart and intensity.

“It’s a huge match for us,” sophomore Alexandra Coello said. “It’s our last conference game so it means a lot and we want to end the season on a good note.”

In other words, this is it.

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