Marquette Wire

Volleyball surprises with perfect start at Cyclone Invitational

Golden Eagles lost one set all weekend

2014+Photo%3A+Valeria+Cardenas
2014 Photo: Valeria Cardenas

2014 Photo: Valeria Cardenas

2014 Photo: Valeria Cardenas

Andrew Goldstein, andrew.goldstein@mu.edu

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Marquette volleyball entered the 2015 season in need of a fresh start. They got it this weekend.

The Golden Eagles are 3-0 after victories over North Dakota State, Dayton and Iowa State at the Cyclone Invitational in Ames, Iowa. Marquette handled North Dakota State 3-1 and swept both Dayton and Iowa State 3-0 en route to an unblemished opening stretch.

“Obviously we have some things to work on and it’s the first weekend, but I really liked our energy,” said head coach Ryan Theis. “It’s fun to see the team play with that kind of passion.”

Outside hitter Taylor Louis logged her first three starts as a member of the Golden Eagles, and the redshirt freshman did not disappoint. She averaged 5.9 kills per set this past weekend and recorded a hitting percentage over .300 in two of those three games. Louis also made contributions on the defensive side of the net; she averaged over eight digs per game for the tournament.

“Getting stronger in the weight room definitely helped my game a lot,” said Louis on her off-season prep. “I’m also getting used to the speed of Division I collegiate volleyball and all the different plays you need to run.”

Marquette’s only real scare of the weekend came in the third set against Iowa State, who entered the weekend ranked No. 21 in the AVCA Preseason Coaches poll. The Golden Eagles had match point against the Cyclones with a score of 24-18, but ISU was able to stave Marquette off with a run of six straight points. Four of those points came off Marquette attack errors. Ultimately, the Golden Eagles prevailed 26-24, but the team’s inconsistency weighed heavily on the mind of Coach Theis, who described his squad’s overall performance as “up and down.”

Theis also noted the Golden Eagles’ difficulty with serving.

“If we try to serve aggressively, we tend to miss, he said. “We want aggressive and in, so that’s what we’re going to work on.”

Despite those few shortcomings, this was a landmark weekend for the Golden Eagles. Two of their opponents — Dayton and Iowa State — made the NCAA Tournament last year, and North Dakota State was not exactly a pushover either. These wins will go a long way toward solidifying Marquette’s credentials come tournament selection time. There’s still a lot of season left and a ton of questions to be answered, but Marquette started their 2015 campaign the right way.

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