Golden Eagles ease past Loyola-Chicago, falls to Kentucky in Marquette Invitational

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Golden Eagles ease past Loyola-Chicago, falls to Kentucky in Marquette Invitational

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Kevin Wells

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Marquette volleyball walked away from its home opening weekend with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-17) victory against Loyola-Chicago on Friday and a 3-1 (25-23, 26-24,25-23,25-23) loss to No. 13 Kentucky on Sunday.

Allie Barber continued to have a strong start to her sophomore campaign tallying 34 kills on the weekend and hitting over .400 in both matches.

via GIPHY

Marquette played Kentucky extremely tough and had a chance to win each set, tallying at least 23 points in each set but could not finish its opportunities.

“We are going to have to learn how to finish opportunities,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “What is going to separate us from being a good team and a great team later in the year is going to be is if we finish those last volleys.”

A large reason Marquette was able to stay in the match was the fact that they dominated in serving. The Golden Eagles had seven serving aces and only three serving errors, while the Wildcats had only one serving ace and 14 serving errors.

via GIPHY

“I thought everyone was hitting well,” Theis said. “Clearly we practiced a lot (and) obviously we are at home, so that is nice.”

Kentucky finished the match hitting .451 as a team and had four players with double digit kills with Leah Edmond leading the way with 26 kills.

Against Loyola, Marquette played solid defense by holding Loyola to a .108 hitting percentage and combining for six blocks. Offensively, Marquette cruised in each set and faced no real threat from Loyola.

The Golden Eagles will have a tough schedule ahead with a match at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday and a match at University of Wisconsin-Madison on Thursday before facing Southern Miss on Saturday.

“This is a really big week for us. This week can separate if your season, from an RPI perspective, is successful or not successful,” Theis said. “Three matches this week coming off Sunday; that is a lot of volleyball. We will need everyone to play, we are going to need people to step in.”

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