Volleyball loses Bailey, two others to transfer

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Friday morning, Big East Conference Player of the Year sophomore Autumn Bailey, as well as sophomore Nele Barber and freshman Gabby Benda, were no longer listed on the team’s official roster.

According to Anonymous Eagle, a Marquette sports blog, the three players are transferring from the program

“Autumn, Gabby and Nele have elected to transfer from Marquette University to continue their collegiate volleyball careers,” Marquette coach Ryan Theis said in a statement, published on Anonymous Eagle. “We are appreciative of their many accomplishments as Golden Eagles and wish them the best as they pursue future endeavors.”

Barber was second on the team in offensive production, averaging 2.75 kills per set and Benda was the Golden Eagles’ top setter, coming in with 7.78 assists per set. Though both players added significant contributions to the team this season, they pale in comparison to the impact of Bailey.

Before winning conference player of the year this season, Bailey was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 2013. She became the fastest player in Marquette volleyball history to reach 1,000 kills, doing so in a match against DePaul Nov. 22. Bailey led the team kills with 576 (4.80 per set) and in points, 664.5 (5.54 per set), all while averaging 3.38 digs per frame and a team-high 46 service aces. Bailey led the Big East in kills, points, and aces in 2014 and was in the top-10 nationally in total kills, kills per set, and points per set. Those numbers made Bailey an All-American honorable mention. Bailey finishes her time at Marquette at 11th on the program’s all-time kill list.

With the departure of three of Marquette’s best young players, in addition to the graduation of Courtney Kintzel and Lindsey Gosh, Marquette will start next season without four of its top five offensive producers, leaving redshirt sophomore Meghan Niemann as the team’s highest scorer.

Though the coaching staff certainly has its work cut out for them, the Golden Eagles landed redshirt sophomore Rice Sara Blasier because of transfer.

Blasier, a Hartford, Wis. native, has been a second-team all-conference player in the American Conference the past two seasons at her setter position. Blasier averaged 11.07 assists per set, good for best in the conference. Rice and Blasier came to Marquette as a part of the Marquette Invitational Tournament in September. Against the Golden Eagles, Blasier posted 37 assists and 19 digs in a 3-1 win for the Owls and was named MVP of the tournament.

Regardless, the Golden Eagles have a lot of work to do if they want to get back to the type of season they had in 2014, finishing 24-9 and making their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

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