Upset over Gators highlights perfect weekend

volleyballonline
Photo by Valeria Cardenas/[email protected]

Ryan Theis is halfway into his first season as Marquette women’s volleyball head coach, but he already has a significant win under his belt as his Golden Eagles upset the No. 7 Florida Gators in five sets Friday night in the first match of a weekend triple-header across the Sunshine State.

The teams alternated the first four sets, with Marquette (9-3) capturing the first and third. Marquette trailed in the final set 10-9 before earning three straight points. A kill by redshirt sophomore Meghan Niemann sealed the upset bid in Gainesville, Florida. Sophomore Autumn Bailey led the team with 15 kills, while fellow sophomore Lauren Houg had 20 digs.

“It was a great team win,” Thies said in a press release. “Everyone at times contributed and a lot of people scored in different ways. The offense got going in the fifth and that was what we needed.”

The victory over Florida was just the beginning of an impressive weekend for Marquette. The team traveled to Orlando, Florida, and almost suffered a disappointing loss to Central Florida before rallying back from a 2-0 deficit to win the match. Marquette won the third and fourth sets by a 25-23 tally and edged the Knights 15-13 in the fifth set.

Bailey led the team again with 19 kills, while freshman Gabby Benda piled up 46 assists.

Marquette concluded its weekend by defeating Jacksonville in convincing fashion. The Golden Eagles made quick business of the Dolphins, sweeping them 25-8, 25-12 and 25-15.

Bailey led the team once again with 14 kills and sophomore Nele Barber chipped in with 11 kills. The game took only 59 minutes and was an emphatic conclusion to an excellent weekend.

“I’m happy that through the course of this weekend we grew as a team,” Theis said in a press release. “You always want to have won a five-game match before the start of conference play so you have some confidence in it. If you are down and come from behind like 1-0 or 2-1 and come back to win in five, that is even better.”

Theis’ squad will open conference play Friday night, when they travel to Rhode Island to take on Providence. Marquette will then head to New York to face St. John’s Saturday.