Volleyball sweeps Green Bay at the Al

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Volleyball sweeps Green Bay at the Al

Senior Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles in kills Friday night against Green Bay.

Senior Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles in kills Friday night against Green Bay.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Senior Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles in kills Friday night against Green Bay.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Senior Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles in kills Friday night against Green Bay.

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The No. 8 Golden Eagles defeated the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix in straight sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-18) Friday night in their first match of the Hyatt Regency Marquette Invitational.

Even though it was a sweep, Green Bay was no easy task. The Phoenix took a 5-3 lead and later an 18-15 lead in the first set.

“Green Bay’s a pretty competitive group,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “They served really well tonight and made us uncomfortable at times.”

However, Marquette finished the set on a 10-1 run, taking the first 25-19 despite ending the set with a .104 hitting percentage. Green Bay was even worse, hitting .027.

“We started a little bit slow,” senior outside hitter Allie Barber said. “We were hitting too low in the court and once we figured that out and started aiming for (the) perimeter, it turned around for us and it showed late in the last two games.”

Barber provided Marquette’s first three points of the second set, which were as many kills as she had in the entire first set.

Green Bay tied the second set at 16-16, but Marquette pulled away with a 25-23 set win. The Golden Eagles hit at a .366 clip in the set.

Although MU hopped out to an early 11-4 lead, the Golden Eagles allowed Green Bay to go on a 6-1 scoring run and eventually tie this set at 16.

“I was pleased with the way our offense grew throughout the night,” Theis said. “They started out blocking us and it takes a little while to recover from that, but I’m glad we did.”

Both teams remained competitive in the final set until Marquette used a 7-1 scoring run to secure the set and match.

“It’s all about closing games when they’re close at the end,” Theis said. “It’s all about, ‘Let’s get some defensive focus this kid.’ ‘Hey let’s not let this happen late.'”

Barber led all hitters with 16 kills. Junior Hope Werch finished with nine kills, three service aces and 13 digs.

Senior setter Lauren Speckman dished out a team-high 18 assists and had six digs, Elizabeth Orf finished with two blocks and junior libero Martha Konovodoff recorded 12 digs and four assists. The Golden Eagles totaled 11 service errors and only three blocks.

“Our block still has a lot of room to improve and that’s something we’re continuing to work on in practice,” Barber said.

Outside hitter Taylor Wolf led the Phoenix with 15 kills while hitting at a match-high clip of .367.

“Going in, we knew she’d be their prime hitter, so we tried to just always know where she was on the court and get four hands in front of her the whole game and try to dig around the block,” Barber said.

Senior setter Maddie Yoss contributed a game-high 28 assists, while freshman Brenna Hesse finished led all liberos with 19 digs. Green Bay finished with seven total blocks with five of them from junior middle blocker Ashley Sledge.

The No. 8 Golden Eagles (8-2) will a doubleheader Saturday against Saint Louis University at 10 a.m. and University of Northern Iowa at 7 p.m.

“It was nice to get it done (against Green Bay) efficiently in three. It was obviously a battle,” Theis said. “We have to turn around at 10 a.m. We have to be ready for Saint Louis, they were sitting here watching us while we were sweating.”

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