Marquette Wire

Volleyball set for bout with Butler

Photo+by+Doug+Peters%2Fdouglas.peters%40marquette.edu
Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Andrew Goldstein, andrew.goldstein@mu.edu

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After a resounding loss and a dominant win last week, Marquette volleyball will get another shot at beating a quality Big East opponent on their home floor.

The Golden Eagles will wrap up a six-game homestand on Wednesday night when they take on the Butler Bulldogs. Marquette enters this game with a 1-1 conference record, while Butler comes in at 2-1.

“They’re probably the youngest team in the league,” observed Marquette head coach Ryan Theis. “They’re a little bit up and down, which you would expect from a young team, but there’s some talent there and some kids who can score.”

Both teams enter this match coming off of easy home victories against lower-tier Big East teams. Marquette defeated DePaul in three sets on Saturday night, while Butler easily dispatched Providence in the same number of sets. Both matches took under 90 minutes to complete.

Butler’s biggest strength is its blocking. They currently average 2.49 blocks per set, which is almost an entire block per set more than their opposition this season. In comparison, Marquette averages 2.20 blocks per set with a 6’6” player (Jenna Rosenthal) and an All-Big East selection (Meghan Niemann) as the crux of their defense.

The quality of Butler’s block is not lost on Coach Theis, who emphasized that his attackers need to make smart hitting decisions, even if it means not going all-out on a particular swing.

“You have to know that when your body is in rhythm and the ball is in an attack-able position, you can score and attack aggressively,” Theis said. “But the more important part of that is to learn when you’re not in the position to do that. In that case, you have to hit it softly and around the opposing block.”

One player who has been particularly good at that recently is Niemann, the redshirt junior middle hitter out of Jackson, Wisconsin. She has had a hitting percentage of .400 or better in three out of the five matches that Marquette has played at home so far. With opposing blocks keying in on outside hitter Taylor Louis, Marquette may look to get Niemann more involved in the offense.

The opening serve will be at 8:00 pm. Marquette Radio will carry the radio broadcast.

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