Volleyball defeats Butler to conclude homestand

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Volleyball defeats Butler to conclude homestand

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.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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Marquette volleyball got off to yet another slow start in its match against the Butler Bulldogs Wednesday night. Then the team heated up in a hurry.

The Golden Eagles defeated the Bulldogs in four sets at the Al McGuire Center for their second conference victory in a row. The win puts Marquette’s overall record at 10-5 and its BIG EAST record at 2-1. Butler sunk to 5-11 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

“Taylor Louis was about all we had going for us offensively in game one,” Theis said. “But I thought we got to them with some service pressure from then on and were able to crack their passing a little bit. And then all of our attackers got it going.”

Louis’ seven kills, while certainly impressive, were about the only bright spot in a first set that was mostly dominated by Butler. An impressive Butler blocking effort held the Golden Eagles to a meager .167 hitting percentage in the opening frame. Marquette was no better on the defensive side of the ball either, failing to record a single block all game.

“Butler handled serve-receive really well in the first,” Theis said. “Their passers, their servers and their hitters all had it going.”

The rest of the game, however, could not have gone more differently than the first set did. Marquette routed the Bulldogs in the second set, 25-14, behind a .448 hitting effort. The Golden Eagles struck the ball every bit as well in the third set as Butler did in the first, recording a .429 hitting percentage en route to a 25-18 win. Butler played the last set more closely, but wilted down the stretch as Marquette won the game, 25-21, and the match 3-1.

Marquette’s offense did an admirable job of attacking a Butler defense that averaged 2.49 blocks per game coming into the match. Taylor Louis slammed her way to a team-high 20 kills, while Joy Miley boasted 12 kills and a .455 hitting percentage. Butler did get 7.5 blocks over the course of the game, but most of Marquette’s shots went into the Bulldogs’ back row without much interference.

“We had some good first and second touches and allowed the third touch to kind of move around the block a little bit,” Theis said. “I thought Joy did a good job of hitting the high seam shots. Taylor was on tonight too.”

Marquette will now leave its home territory and embark on a four-match road trip over the next 12 days. The first two games of that trip will take place on Friday against Villanova in Pennsylvania and Saturday against Seton Hall in South Orange, New Jersey. Both Villanova and Seton Hall are 1-1 in conference play, and both teams’ losses have come against defending BIG EAST champion Creighton.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” Theis said. “We’ve got one day of practice before back-to-back matches, and we haven’t even watched Seton Hall yet. It’s challenging.”

Marquette ended a tough six-match home stand with a 4-2 record and some unanswered questions. Can they buck their recent trend of slow starts? Will Taylor Louis continue her blistering five kills per set pace? And which Marquette team is the real one: the team that fell apart against Xavier, or the one that resoundingly defeated Butler?

The answers may reveal themselves when Marquette gets its first taste of conference road action this weekend.

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