Volleyball clinches BIG EAST Tournament berth

Seeds 2 through 4 will be determined this weekend

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Volleyball clinches BIG EAST Tournament berth

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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It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Marquette has secured its place to play postseason volleyball.

The Golden Eagles split a pair of road games this weekend, losing in five sets to St. John’s Saturday before recovering to defeat Providence in straight sets Sunday.

Control of Saturday’s bout with St. John’s went back and forth throughout the match. Marquette got off to a fast start by winning the first set 25-15, but the Red Storm quickly counterpunched, ripping off eight points in a row to win the second set 25-13. The run featured a litany of mistakes by Marquette: two unforced errors, two blocked attacks, one setting error and one St. John’s service ace.

The third set was about as close and evenly played as a set of volleyball could possibly be. A kill from Karin Palgutova of St. John’s gave the Red Storm set point at 24-23, but the Golden Eagles were able to stave them off after junior setter Sara Blasier notched a kill of her own to tie things up. From there, Marquette had three chances to serve for set point, but they ended up winning none of them. The set went on for 10 more points after the initial deuce before Julia Cast and Mona Karkkainen rejected an attack from junior Joy Miley to give St. John’s a 30-28 set victory.

The gold and blue were able to even things up with a 25-19 win in the fourth set to force a decisive fifth set, but St. John’s prevailed 15-11 in the final stanza to pull off the upset.

Things went significantly easier for the Golden Eagles in their Sunday afternoon match against the last-place Friars. Freshman middle blocker Jenna Rosenthal smacked 14 kills and logged an astronomical .722 hitting percentage en route to a 25-12, 25-18, 25-18 Marquette victory.

Marquette’s overall record is now 20-9 overall and 11-5 inside the conference, which means that they would hold the fourth seed if the BIG EAST Tournament were to start tomorrow. Creighton has clinched the No. 1 seed already, but seeds two through four are still not settled. Villanova and Xavier hold the second and third seeds, respectively, going into the final two matches of the season. Both teams are 12-4 in conference.

The regular season wraps up for Marquette next weekend with a Friday match against Butler and a Saturday showdown with Xavier, the latter of which will have a large bearing on who Marquette plays in the tournament.

 

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