Volleyball sweeps Butler in BIG EAST opener

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Volleyball sweeps Butler in BIG EAST opener

Elizabeth Orf and Hope Werch go for a block in Marquette's win over Butler Wednesday.

Elizabeth Orf and Hope Werch go for a block in Marquette's win over Butler Wednesday.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Elizabeth Orf and Hope Werch go for a block in Marquette's win over Butler Wednesday.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Elizabeth Orf and Hope Werch go for a block in Marquette's win over Butler Wednesday.

Shane Hogan

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The No. 10-ranked Golden Eagles beat the Butler Bulldogs (25-22, 25-17, 25-15) to begin BIG EAST play Wednesday afternoon.

“We got a busy week with four matches in seven days so you’ve got a chance to jump ahead of the lead. You can get a couple of wins right away so (I’m) glad to get the first one,” head coach Ryan Theis said.

For senior setter Lauren Speckman, this was her final BIG EAST opener.

“Obviously it’s sad,” Speckman said. “I love being here and it’s been a blast, but I’m just trying to appreciate everything going on one game at a time.”

Despite a rough start consisting of five Marquette attack errors, the Golden Eagles quickly regained momentum to claim a 16-11 lead.

“At first it was a little confusing because we made a couple errors and (the kids) started cheering and we were like, ‘Who are you here for?’ But once they kind of settled down, it was good,” Speckman said.

Butler cut the deficit to 22-20, but Marquette finished the set with a 25-22 win.

Both teams struggled on the offensive in the first set. Marquette combined for a .108 clip and held Butler to .027 hitting percentage.

“Slow start. It was a little bit iffy at first,” Speckman said. “But then we started to pick it up and get our confidence back.”

In the second, the Bulldogs’ offense could not find the floor and combined for four attack errors in the first five points.

MU used a 6-0 scoring run, which included two consecutive service aces from junior outside hitter Hope Werch, to take a 13-6 lead. The Golden Eagles maintained at least a six-point advantage for the rest of the set before winning 25-17. Marquette held Butler to a .056 hitting percentage.

“We got some quality touches,” Theis said. “We’re a little high in the kills, and we’re a little low in the blocks, but hopefully they an balance out a little bit.”

“Our hitters did a great job putting balls down today efficiently, and our passers did a great job as well,” Speckman said.

Marquette’s offense had plenty of momentum in the third set, winning 25-15 to ensure the match victory. The Bulldogs totaled eight blocks.

“I give their block credit, but I’d like to see our hitters do something different with some of those balls,” Theis said.

Senior outside hitter Allie Barber led all hitters with 13 kills and had two digs. Freshman Hannah Vanden Berg added seven kills, and Gwyn Jones had six kills and two blocks. Werch had the team-high 13 digs, two service aces and one block.

Senior middle blocker Brooke Gregory and junior outside hitter Shanice Horn led Butler with six kills apiece. Sophomore setter Maria Schorr contributed a team-high 15 assists, and sophomore libero Elizabeth LaBue ended with a match-high 15 digs.

No. 10 Marquette (11-2, 1-0 BIG EAST) will host Seton Hall Friday at 7 p.m. and St. John’s Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Al McGuire Center.

“Just try to play cleaner and try to get a little bit better,” Theis said. “It’s been a grueling preseason. … Next weekend, we’re off, so we’re trying to tell our team to stay focused on the here and now, and we’ll get a break coming up soon.”