Volleyball welcomes G’Town, Creighton to the Al

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The Marquette volleyball team plays its first homestand of the Big East schedule this weekend, starting with Georgetown Friday night and conference favorite Creighton Saturday evening at the Al McGuire Center.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a proficient weekend, during which they swept their first six sets of conference play against Providence and St. John’s in a convincing fashion.¬†Sophomore Autumn Bailey led the team throughout the weekend with 34 kills and 27 digs. Defense is something Bailey said she put an emphasis on improving this season.

“Recently Eric, our assistant coach, has been working a lot with me on staying deep and trying to make reads on the balls and the hitters,” Bailey said. “We’ve definitely been looking at where the hitters tend to hit the ball. I’ve been working hard on my defense and just trying to learn to adjust.”

Creighton (10-6, 3-0) enters Milwaukee Saturday as one of the top teams in the conference, while Georgetown (6-10, 0-3) is one of the weaker teams in the Big East. Bailey said it will be a pivotal weekend ahead and concentration will be crucial.

“They’re both great teams,” Bailey said. “Creighton is predicted to win the Big East, so they’re going to be a challenge for us for sure. (For) Georgetown, we’re going to have to be on our game and aware of the scouting report, and I would say the same for Creighton.”

Before the Golden Eagles can shift their attention to Creighton, they will need to take down a Georgetown team that finished 4-12 and in ninth place in the conference last season. Although Georgetown seems to be heading in a similar direction this season, Marquette will need to be careful of a trap game against the Hoyas.

Marquette went 15-1 in conference play last season, with the lone defeat coming at the hands of the Bluejays in Omaha, Neb., just less than a year ago. Although Creighton is only in its second season in the Big East, Bailey said she thinks a rivalry is brewing between the two programs.

“I think that’s definitely developed a little bit of a rivalry, especially because they were predicted to be the winning team in the Big East,” Bailey said. “I think that’s kind of a chip on our shoulders, and we did win the Big East last year and now they want to take that title. They’re a really good team and we’re a pretty strong team, so I’d say that’s going to be a good game for sure.”

Bailey reminisced about Creighton’s raucous arena in the game that cost them a perfect conference record last year. She said she hopes the crowd at the Al McGuire Center is similar to the one she experienced in Omaha last season.

“I hope it’s just like that,” Bailey said. “The fans definitely make a big difference when you’re playing and kind of creates an environment. I hope we kind of create that uncomfortable environment for them so it’s a little bit more difficult for them to stay on their game.”