Marquette Wire

Volleyball splits weekend, will play Seton Hall in Big East semis

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Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

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The women’s volleyball team took a tough loss Friday night against Seton Hall, falling 3-1, only to bounce back and sweep Villanova Saturday to split the weekend road trip. The Golden Eagles (23-7, 13-4) will face Seton Hall in the Big East semifinals. Whether they do so as the second or third seed is still up in the air. Marquette sits in third place, just a half game behind Seton Hall (25-6, 13-3).

Sophomore Autumn Bailey continued to build on her fantastic season and earned her fourth Big East Offensive Player of the Week honor of the year. Bailey had 29 kills Friday and 21 Saturday for a total of 50 during the weekend, bringing her just 10 kills away from Marquette immortality as the first player in school history to reach 1,000 kills in a career. The Canadian-born Bailey set the single season Marquette record for swings after her 54 attack performance gave her 1,359 on the year. Redshirt sophmore Meghan Niemann also made history Saturday, breaking the single season record for block assists (121).

The blue and gold suffered a disappointing loss Friday in South Orange, N.J., in four sets, 25-27, 25-19, 25-27, 16-25. Marquette held the ball at game point in the first and third sets, only to allow Seton Hall to climb back to take both games. The loss to Seton Hall snapped a six-game winning streak and was the first time Marquette lost to the Pirates since 2009.

Bailey had 29 kills on a .348 hitting percentage and added 20 digs. Sophomore Nele Barber also had a double-double, with 18 kills and 10 digs. Despite Bailey’s strong attack percentage, the Golden Eagles hit just .196 as a team and could not match the Pirates’ net play, getting out-blocked 16-9. After the match, Marquette coach Ryan Theis was not pleased with his team’s inability to close out games and saw it as a learning experience.

“Hopefully we learn to finish games,” Theis told gomarquette.com. “We saw them do it and we have to learn from that. We have to have more ‘show up.’ Autumn was awfully good and Nele had a great game too. (Meghan) Niemann started hot, but we need more out of more people. If we get that, games one and three tonight are different.”

Theis’ team must have heard him loud and clear, because the Golden Eagles had no trouble ending sets Saturday against Villanova. Marquette took care of business and swept the Wildcats, 25-17, 25-19, 25-19. Villanova did its best to keep each set close, but the Golden Eagles were simply too strong. Marquette scored at least four consecutive points in each set to establish an insurmountable lead, including a 5-0 run to end the second set and a 4-0 streak to end the third and the match.

Bailey again led the Golden Eagles in kills with 21 and an ace for good measure. Barber had just six kills in the match, but contributed 14 digs in the winning effort, and Niemann had nine kills and five block assists. Marquette hit .306 as a unit and played excellent defense. The Golden Eagles out-blocked and out-dug the Wildcats and forced 20 errors on a .089 hitting percentage on the match.

After the Seton Hall loss, Theis predicted his team would meet the Pirates again in the Big East tournament. The Golden Eagles will take on Seton Hall in the Big East semifinals Friday, Nov. 28.

Marquette will host DePaul Sat., Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. for the regular season finale. The team will honor seniors Lindsey Gosh and Courtney Kintzel before the match as part of the Senior Night ceremony.

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