Volleyball falls to No. 14 Illinois in Redbird Classic


Photo by Elena Fiegen

Marquette volleyball is now 6-2 after losing in five sets to No. 14 Illinois.

No. 7 Marquette fell to No. 14 Illinois (27-25, 25-12, 22-25, 21-25, 15-11) Saturday night at the Redbird Classic in the Golden Eagles’ third five-set match of the 2019 season and second in a 36-hour span.

It’s the Golden Eagles’ second loss to the Flighting Illini since December, when Illinois swept MU in the quarterfinals of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Marquette took a 16-11 lead in the first set before Illinois tied the set at 18-18. MU eventually won the set 27-25 on consecutive Illinois attack errors.

The second frame was much easier for the Golden Eagles. They built an early 18-10 advantage and won the set 25-12. The Golden Eagles hit a clip of .560 in the second, which was the best of the match.

However, Marquette struggled in the third, notching a hitting percentage of just .000. Illinois wasn’t much better, hitting at a .030 clip. Neither team led by more than three points, and there were nine ties in the frame before Illinois came out on top 25-22.

The Fighting Illini improved in the fourth set, posting a .303 clip to force a fifth set.

Marquette remained competitive in the first half of the fifth set, but after going down 12-9, the Golden Eagles never regained the lead and lost 15-11.

Thirteen service errors proved to be the Golden Eagles’ downfall. Illinois also had an 11-8 advantage in blocks.

Senior Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles with 21 kills. Junior Hope Werch added a double-double of 13 kills and 10 digs, and sophomore Ellie Koontz finished with seven kills. Barber hit at a .348 clip, Werch hit at a .480 clip and Koontz hit at a.357 clip.

Senior Lauren Speckman dished out 21 assists and nine digs. Junior Martha Konovodoff recorded 24 digs.

Outside hitter Jacqueline Quade led Illinois with 21 kills while also recording 11 digs. Diana Brown contributed a match-high 52 assists and added 10 digs. Caroline Welsh finished with a team-high 16 digs.

No. 7 Marquette (6-2) will face Illinois State University, the host of the Redbird Classic, Sunday at 3 p.m.