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Theis and Hays reflect on volleyball season prior to home opener

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In-season retrospective from head coach Ryan Theis and defensive specialist Ellen Hays

Ellen+Hays+digs+an+attack.+Photo+courtesy+Maggie+Bean%2FMarquette+Athletics
Ellen Hays digs an attack. Photo courtesy Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Ellen Hays digs an attack. Photo courtesy Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Ellen Hays digs an attack. Photo courtesy Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Marquette volleyball spent three long weekends on the road to start the year and battled some of the nation’s best teams, including Iowa State and Kansas. This weekend, the Golden Eagles return to the Al McGuire to kick off their home campaign.

After completing about a third of their schedule on the road to open the season, Marquette will play three home matches against Wichita State, Albany and IUPUI in the annual Marquette Invitational.

Before the tournament, Coach Ryan Theis and junior defensive specialist/setter Ellen Hays took some time to reflect on the season so far:

Theis on Marquette’s performance to date:

We’re sitting at 6-3 and we’re a couple of [five-game losses] from being 8-1. Sure wish we could have had those back, but, you know, this preseason of 12 matches is jam-packed with 20 win teams……We knew wins wouldn’t be easy and we’d feel a lot better at 8-1, but 6-3 is what we are.”

Theis on Marquette’s difficult non-conference schedule:

I didn’t want to put [a schedule] together that didn’t test us. We don’t want to walk into conference play 11-1 with some artificial ranking attached to us or something like that, you know. I wanted us to have to beat teams that knew how to win.”

Hays on Marquette’s five-set win over Miami

“Before that fifth set, we talked about all the work we put in to get to that point and how this game could make or break us for the NCAA Tournament. We really had a mindset of ‘We have to get this win’ and I think everyone was on the same game plan. It was a really great team win and it was a big game for us.”

Theis on the most improved aspect of his team:

“I think the biggest question mark going into this season was passing, and I think the passers have done a great job….I’m most proud of the scheme that we’ve created and the players stepping up and performing in those roles.

Hays on getting better at serving:

 This whole preseason, I would say that over half of what we’ve done is serve-receive. All the passers and the outside hitters have been really working on it.. Putting in emphasis on it has really helped us perform better.

Theis on who has surprised him the most:

“You know, we thought Taylor Louis would be a major point-scorer even back in the spring, but if you look at where she was a year ago when we made the decision to redshirt her versus where she is now is…extremely impressive. To go from high-error to six kills per game, you know, is really impressive in one year. So I’d say that’s probably the biggest and happiest surprise that we have.”

Hays on who she thinks has the team’s biggest personality:

 “I would have to say [Junior middle hitter] Teal Schnurr. She is an awesome girl. She’s very bubbly and she loves volleyball. Her passion for it really shows when she plays and her personality just makes you want to be as loving and caring as she is.”

Theis on goals for his team:

Our goal is to compete for a Big East championship and to advance in the NCAA Tournament. That’s been our goal since I got here, that’s been our goal since last year ended, and I’ll have to stick with that one.”

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