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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Position-by-position look back at volleyball season

Two graduating seniors, incoming freshmen leaves high expectations for next year’s team
Photo by Doug Peters/[email protected]

Marquette volleyball’s season came to its conclusion this past Saturday after a 25-23, 25-13, 25-21 loss to No. 2 Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They ended the season with a 22-12 record and a 4th place finish in the BIG EAST. Here’s a position-by-position review of what went right and what needs to be improved for next season:


After last year’s star attacker Autumn Bailey transferred and right side hitter Lindsey Gosh graduated, Golden Eagles fans were left wondering where the offense was going to come from. Then Taylor Louis took the court. The redshirt freshman from Skokie, Illinois was nothing short of stupendous, averaging nearly five kills per set and breaking the Marquette single-season kills record.

Paradoxically enough, the position of Marquette’s greatest strength also was the position of its greatest weakness. The Golden Eagles could never quite find someone to play across from Louis that would consistently generate kills and keep opposing blocks from focusing on the team’s star player. Junior Joy Miley and senior Erin Lehman, the other two eligible outside hitters on the roster, both hit under .200 and did not crack the 2.25 kills per game mark.

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“I think all the players have different strengths, and we probably ultimately needed more strengths to be (getting kills),” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said.

This problem should be greatly diminished next year, though. Highly touted redshirt freshman Amanda Green will be in consideration for a starting spot, as will incoming freshman Madeline Mosher. Both of those players have enough offensive capabilities to take pressure off Louis, and their defense may be good enough that they don’t have to come out of the game when they rotate into the back row. That could go a long way toward transforming Marquette’s offense from one-dimensional to dynamic.


Junior Meghan Niemann and redshirt freshman Jenna Rosenthal formed the crux of Marquette’s block, with junior Teal Schnurr occasionally subbing in. Both starters hit over .300 and averaged about a block per set, which are solid numbers. Despite those numbers, Theis was unwilling to say if the pair would be starting next year.

“It’ll be competitive,” Theis said. “Allie Barber is coming in, Teal’s played some middle (hitter); it’s about competing at every position.”

Barber will be the middle hitter of the future for Marquette the moment she walks on campus next year. The 6-foot-5 player from Cedarburg says she plans to redshirt next season, but don’t be surprised to see her making an impact as soon as her redshirt period is over. She was the No. 45 recruit in the country according to


Defense was a point of pride for Marquette this season. It held opponents to a .181 hitting percentage, which was second only to Villanova among BIG EAST teams. Marquette also averaged 17.68 digs per set, which was the best mark in the conference by over a full dig per set.

Junior libero Lauren Houg had a lot to do with those numbers. She put up 5.17 digs per set, which ranked in the top-25 in the country. Houg ended the season with 641 digs, which surpassed Julie Jeziorowski’s old single-season record for most digs in a single season.

Junior Ellen Hays and freshman Riley Burchett also played crucial roles in Marquette’s back line. They each played in every single set Marquette was involved in this year and made too many big saves to count.

Next year, that core of three players should stay fairly entrenched in the starting lineup. Redshirt freshman Abby Julian may work her way into the rotation, but that should be the only real difference from this year, barring injury.


Rice University transfer Sara Blasier took over the role of starting setter at the beginning of this season and proved to be a dual threat. The redshirt junior averaged 10.36 assists per set and 2.68 digs per set while staying on the court pretty much constantly. Junior Mary Nilles subbed in occasionally.

Blasier should have no problem holding on to her starting job next year. Incoming freshman Lauren Speckman will likely be the backup setter for a season before taking over that role full time once Blasier graduates. Julian also had plenty of experience as a setter in high school, so it is possible she may see some time at that position next year.


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