The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Barber leads volleyball to 3-1 Marquette Invitational

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/
Photo by Valeria Cardenas/[email protected]

Down 20-15 in the fourth set with momentum on the other side of the net, the Marquette women’s volleyball team dug deep and pulled off an impressive four-set victory over Texas-San Antonio to cap off a 3-1 weekend at the Marquette Invitational.

“That was an exciting game,” sophomore outside hitter Nele Barber said. “The first was 25-12, that was very nice, and then they fought back … it got tight. At the end we actually did our game plan so we could win the game.”

Marquette jumped out to an early 9-1 lead against UTSA and kept the momentum going to win the first set 25-12. Trailing 22-19 in the second set, the Golden Eagles ripped off six straight points to claim the second set 25-22. After giving the Roadrunners the third set 25-18, Marquette stormed back late in the fourth for a 26-24 match-clinching win.

“We hadn’t had many comebacks to tie or take leads yet this year,” coach Ryan Theis said. “I think that was based on our serving.”

Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey, redshirt sophomore setter Mary Nilles and Barber all had important serves in both comebacks in the close sets. Bailey led Marquette with 16 kills and 11 digs, while Barber chipped in 15 on her way to the all-tournament team.

“If we can get kills in multiple positions … I think that makes us very dangerous,” Theis said. “I look forward to using multiple weapons in the future.”

Those multiple weapons were on display in Saturday morning’s four-set win over Green Bay (26-28, 25-14, 25-17, 25-22), when Barber and senior right side hitter Lindsey Gosh had 15 kills each to lead Marquette. Barber’s success balanced Bailey, who had 13 kills but hit under .200.

“Both of us play together,” Barber said of Bailey. “If one has a bad day, the other one tries to balance it out. If we both have a good day, that’s even better.”

Rice proved to be a difficult opponent for the Golden Eagles Friday night. Marquette never found much momentum and fell in four sets (25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-15). Bailey had seven kills in the victorious third set, but struggled for the rest of the game.

“They had a very good game,” Barber said. “They had a lot of touches and a lot of good digs that we didn’t really expect, and we could not kill the ball. We made a lot of mistakes.”

Some of those mistakes came from the service line, as Marquette could not build momentum and get point runs due to errors.

“We had 34 misses and our opponents had 17 (for the weekend),” Theis said. “You don’t want to be playing from behind. When you get aced and you miss serves, and that happens five, six times, all of a sudden the other team only has to play to 18 or 19 when you’re trying to play to 25.”

Theis added that serving can give his team a huge advantage.

“At the same time, we have to be aggressive,” he said. “It’s the only way to get point runs. So you’ve got to find that fine line and tell certain players to go for it more than others.”

One of those players is Barber, whose serving helped the Golden Eagles all weekend, including a 25-12, 25-9, 25-17 rout of James Madison Friday morning. Barber says the transition back to serving after not doing it at all last year is one she is enjoying.

“I missed it,” she said. “I was a six-rotation player in Germany and I knew I missed it a lot. And now, to play a lot of back row is awesome.”

An exhausted Marquette team will be able to take a few days off to lick their wounds and get ready to hit the ground running again this week in practice. Theis says overall, the tournament went according to his expectations.

“We’ll take it, but we want to win every match,” he said. “Were we expecting to go 4-0? No. We’re expecting to have chances to win every match we play.”

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *