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Friendship between Orf, Rosenthal guided volleyball to Creighton win

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

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Since joining the BIG EAST in 2013, Creighton has finished outside of first place only once, a fact that Marquette knows only too well.

Marquette’s lone win against Creighton was in that 2013, when they defeated the Blue Jays in the BIG EAST Finals. On paper, it appeared the first matchup between the Golden Eagles and Blue Jays this season would result in another Creighton victory; the Jays entered the match as the No. 12 team in the country and Marquette entered the match with eight newcomers.

One of those newcomers was Elizabeth Orf, a middle blocker out of Villa Duchesne High School in St. Louis. She had yet to experience a loss to the Blue Jays, and had specific goals in mind to make the sure the team broke Creighton’s winning streak. “I gave myself two goals,” Orf said. “I just want to press over as far as I could on my blocks and my other goal was to hit the ball as hard as I could.”

Fellow middle blocker Jenna Rosenthal made sure Orf delivered on those goals. As one of the most experienced players on the team and an all-BIG EAST-caliber player, Rosenthal has served as a role model for how Orf should train, study and play.

“Seeing all that hard work (Rosenthal) has put in and how much it has paid off, obviously she is a phenomenal player, I think it is just really cool,” Orf said. “Her being a middle has just really helped me. Even though she is hard on me at times I know it is all because she believes in me and she wants me to be the best player I can for the team.”

Both Rosenthal and Orf did their parts against Creighton. The first set went to the Golden Eagles rather easily. Then, in the second set, Orf helped carry her team to a 25-15 victory with three kills and four blocks. Marquette then did what seemed highly unlikely at the start of the match: beat the Blue Jays in straight sets. Orf finished the match with five kills and five blocks. Rosenthal, who had five kills and three block assists, couldn’t help but notice.

“Elizabeth did such a good job and I’m so proud of her,” Rosenthal said after the match. “I keep saying that, but I really am proud of everyone. Just getting our hands over the net, pressing over hard, making sure we shut down our angles, making it a lot easier on our defense.”

So, is this the year Marquette continues to defy odds and go to the second round of the NCAA tournament?

“I definitely think so,” Orf said. “If we come together as a unit, especially with all the talent we have on the team and the team chemistry we have. I definitely think so if we put in the work.”

Orf, Rosenthal and the Golden Eagles will look to continue their impressive BIG EAST form this weekend, as they will square off against second-to-last place Xavier Friday night at the Al McGuire Center.

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