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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette volleyball takes third at Marquette Invitational

The women’s volleyball team celebrates after their sweep against UWM on Saturday. Photo by Andrei Greska / [email protected]

It was a weekend of firsts for the Marquette women’s volleyball team as it played, lost and then won its first home games in the Marquette/Milwaukee Invitational.

Throughout it all, it was their first contact­—a volleyball term for the first time your team touches the ball whether on a serve or a pass— that made all the difference.

“Two of the most important things in volleyball are serve and pass,” said assistant coach Michaela Franklin, “That first contact is what’s really going to put you in the system.”

The Golden Eagles (5-4) went 2-1 this weekend to take third place overall in the six-team tournament. That first contact is what ultimately kept Marquette from achieving its goal of sweeping all three matches.

“We still need to work on first contact a lot,” said coach Bond Shymansky, “Our passing  and our serving is just not strong. When it is, we can really blow people out of the water. Until that becomes a strength for us, it will continue to be exploited as a weakness.”

It certainly was against Creighton in Marquette’s home opener Friday night. The team committed eight service errors and never got in rhythm with its passing en route to a surprising 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Bluejays.

Part of the problem could be attributed to the Golden Eagles’ relative lack of experience in the back row. Three freshmen—Catherine Mayer, Julie Jeziorowski and Rachel Stier­—played pivotal roles in all three matches.

“We’re asking a lot,” Shymansky said. “We have three freshmen that have to pass and serve for us. There is no substitute for experience. They’re just going to have to keep learning it and earning it.”

Although the team might have gotten off to a shaky start, they made up for it in the final two matches, as Marquette disposed of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-20) and Toledo in four (25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17).

It was junior outside hitter Ciara Jones that brought down the house, though.

Jones is no stranger to raw strength and power. With a father who played nine years in the NFL, a brother who played football at Florida State and another brother who currently plays at Michigan, it is safe to say she has seen some muscle in her day.

This weekend, however, Jones showed off some brawn all her own, recording 43 kills in three matches.

“Ciara (Jones) did awesome,” said senior Rabbecka Gonyo. “She knew that she needed to step up as an outside hitter. She knew she needed to put the ball down. She stepped her game up, and she did very well.”

Jones recorded a career-high 18 kills against UWM and followed that sterling performance with 16 kills and a .382 hitting percentage against Toledo.

“Other than the first match of the year where she was just a little out of rhythm, the rest of this season she’s just been bombing it,” Shymansky said of Jones. “It didn’t matter if it was Stanford, Minnesota or Toledo, she’s been absolutely ripping the cover off the ball.”

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