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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Club Volleyball: Perfect season ended by in-state rival

This year's club volleyball team finished third in Nationals. Photo vourtesy of Anne Pufahl.

For the seventh time in the last 10 seasons, the Marquette women’s club volleyball team finished in the top three at the National Club Volleyball Tournament. The Golden Eagles took third place in the Division I tournament over Easter break.

Marquette entered the tournament with high aspirations of taking home its second national championship in club history.

“I know we were all very disappointed that we weren’t able to achieve that goal,” senior right side hitter Molly Aikins said. “Last year we finished second, and so we were really fired up this year to take the gold.”

Marquette earned the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament after upending the University of Dayton in a ranking tournament. The Flyers were the No. 1 team in the country at the time.

Marquette cruised through its first match, defeating Minnesota 25-14, 25-20 to set the stage with rival Texas. The Golden Eagles defeated the Longhorns in 2008 for the team’s lone national title.

Over 400 spectators piled into the gym to watch what would become a slugfest. The Golden Eagles escaped the Longhorns with a three set victory of 26-24, 21-25, 15-13. The match lasted an hour and half and left the team exhausted.

Wisconsin-Madison then ended Marquette’s dream of a national championship with a 22-25, 25-21, 15-12 victory.

“Our team fought hard the entire tournament and to have our only loss come against Wisconsin was tough,” senior middle blocker Margaret Morrissey said. “We were sad, but we were all proud of our accomplishment of finishing third in the nation.”

Marquette had defeated the Badgers the last three times the two teams faced off, but the three-set match with Texas was too much to overcome. Wisconsin went on to take the national championship with a 25-14, 25-11 victory over Cal Poly in the finals.

“It was devastating that our seven months of work ended one match short,” coach Anne Pufahl said. “Our only loss of the season came at the wrong time.”

The Golden Eagles may not have hoisted a national title trophy, but it would be difficult to argue that this year’s team was not one of the best in the country. Marquette lost only one game during the regular season, and had three players named to an All-American team. Outside hitters Jennifer Ciriacks and Aikins were tabbed first team All-Americans, while libero Amy Deelo was named to the second team.

The team loses Deelo and setter Stephanie Ryding, an All-American in 2011, to graduation, but the team expects to compete for a national championship again next season.

“It will be hard to lose such key players,” Aikins said. “However, we have what other teams don’t: the best coach in the nation. She can turn any team into a contender for a national championship. We owe all our success to her.”

Marquette may not have taken home the hardware it wanted to, but will still be filed away as one of the best in its program’s history.


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