Volleyball opens home stretch with Marquette Invitational

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Volleyball opens home stretch with Marquette Invitational

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Andrew Goldstein, andrew.goldstein@mu.edu

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Marquette volleyball will kick off their home schedule this weekend with the annual Marquette Invitational Tournament.

“They’re happy to be home,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “They’re going to be playing in front of friends, and they’re going to be playing in front of other athletes, so they’re going to want to look good.”

Marquette enters the weekend at 6-3 and will look to end their out-of-conference slate on a high note. Similar to their previous three tournaments, the Golden Eagles will square off against three opponents in two days. Wichita State (7-4) will be up first on Friday evening, followed by Albany (5-4) on Saturday afternoon and IUPUI (7-4) on Saturday night.

Theis said that Marquette should not be fooled by their opponents’ lack of national recognition. He pointed out that Wichita State was picked to win their conference in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll, while Albany and IUPUI were predicted to finish second in their respective conferences.

“The names of these three programs in the volleyball world are relevant,” Theis said.

Junior setter Sara Blasier’s status for the invitational is still in doubt. Theis said that there’s a possibility that she will play and that her injury should not keep her out for a long time.

If Blasier is not able to suit up, redshirt junior Mary Nilles would most likely take over as starting setter. Nilles started in place of Blasier in the final two matches of Pistol Pete’s Invitational last weekend with mixed results. She accumulated 50 assists and 15 digs, both career bests, in a win against Northern Colorado but managed only 28 assists in the Golden Eagles’ 3-0 loss against No. 22 Kansas.

Marquette opened the season with three grueling weekends of road volleyball, so this will be a welcome change for the team.