Golden Eagles sweep opening weekend of conference play

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.
Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

It was an effective opening weekend of Big East play for the women’s volleyball team, as it cruised past conference foes Providence and St. John’s on the road to improve its record to 11-3 and start conference play 2-0.

Marquette swept both teams, beating the Friars 25-15, 25-15 and 25-12, and defeating the Red Storm 25-16, 25-18 and 25-21.

The Golden Eagles used an 8-1 start to ignite their strong performance in Rhode Island. Marquette had 17 kills in the first set against the Friars, one of the highest totals of the season. Providence stuck around much longer in the second set and trailed only 16-12 before the Golden Eagles went on a 7-1 run to seize control once again. Marquette overcame an 8-1 deficit in the third set and closed the match on a 17-1 run that was sparked by five kills from senior Lindsay Gosh.

Sophomore Autumn Bailey led the team with 15 kills and 13 digs in the match. Gosh chimed in with 11 kills and four digs. Freshman Gabby Benda had 25 assists, while sophomore Lauren Houg tied Bailey with 13 digs.

Head coach Ryan Theis was impressed by his team’s performance in his Big East coaching debut.

“We sided out pretty well (against Providence) and other than the start of the third set I thought our offense did a pretty nice job,” Theis said in a press release. “We had 17 kills in the first, one of the higher totals, if not the highest total this year. I don’t know that we played our best match, but we certainly did some things well.”

St. John’s gave Marquette a tough time in the opening set and only trailed 19-16 before the Golden Eagles went on a 6-0 run to secure the set victory. Benda, who played in the entire match for the first time in her career, had 14 assists on Marquette’s 16 kills in the set.

The second set was all Marquette. The Golden Eagles started the match with an insurmountable 7-0 run. The third set in Queens, N.Y., was similar to the one against Providence, as the Golden Eagles finished strong, going on an 8-0 run to fight out of a 21-17 deficit and take the match.

Bailey led the team with 19 kills and 14 digs, while sophomore Nele Barber added eight kills and six digs. Houg had 10 digs and Benda finished with 34 assists and seven digs. Junior Ellie Rauch added eight digs.

The Golden Eagles improved their unbeaten streak in conference play to 14 matches. Marquette will play its first conference home matches this weekend, as it will take on Georgetown and Big East favorite Creighton Friday and Saturday at the Al McGuire Center.