Volleyball sweeps Syracuse in home opener

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Volleyball sweeps Syracuse in home opener

Gwyn Jones attempts a kill against Syracuse at the Al McGuire Center Sept. 7.

Gwyn Jones attempts a kill against Syracuse at the Al McGuire Center Sept. 7.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Gwyn Jones attempts a kill against Syracuse at the Al McGuire Center Sept. 7.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Gwyn Jones attempts a kill against Syracuse at the Al McGuire Center Sept. 7.

Shane Hogan

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Two days after defeating No. 4 Wisconsin on the road, No. 11 Marquette brought that same fire Saturday in its three-set sweep (25-12, 25-23, 25-18) of the Syracuse Orange.

Even though it was a sweep, Syracuse was not a pushover.

“Their philosophy is serve it really hard, don’t let the offense get in any kind of rhythm and be a big blocking team,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “We kind of played right into their hands (at times).”

The first set was all Marquette, with the Golden Eagles hitting 0.586 while holding the Orange to a 0.192 clip.

The second and third frames were a different story.

In the second set, there were four ties and two lead changes, but MU squeaked out a 25-23 victory.

“They had four aces and six blocks in the second set,” Theis said. “It was actually our best set defensively, but they put a lot of service pressure on us.”

The third was hotly contested from the jump until the Golden Eagles ended the frame on a five-point run to sweep the match.

“We’re an older team. We know what we’re doing,” senior Lauren Speckman said. “We get into these tight environments, and we all know that we can rely on each other.”

Senior Allie Barber led the way with 15 kills on a 0.433 clip. Junior Elizabeth Orf had nine kills, and juniors Hope Werch and KJ Lines added seven kills. 

Speckman put up a match-high 21 assists and junior Martha Konovodoff had a match-high 19 digs.

For Syracuse, Polina Shemanova had 11 kills, Lauren Woodford contributed 16 assists and Aliah Bowllan added 11 digs.

For the Marquette seniors, it was the last home opener of their careers.

“It was a good last, first home opener,” Speckman said. “The Al (McGuire Center) is a special place for all of us. It is sad being my last one, but I know there’s going to be a lot more this season.”

Next up for Marquette (5-0) is a matchup against the No. 17 Baylor Bears Sunday at 1 p.m.

“I’m pumped. Baylor’s a great team,” Speckman said. “I’m really excited to see what we have to do, and the fact that it’s at the Al is even better. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

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