Volleyball outlasts St. John’s in third BIG EAST game in four days


Photo by Elena Fiegen

Allie Barber (far right) goes for a kill against St. John’s at the Al McGuire Center.

Shane Hogan

No. 10 Marquette took down the St. John’s Red Storm (22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-18) in an important BIG EAST matchup Saturday.

The Golden Eagles are the projected BIG EAST champions, but the Johnnies received the third-most votes in the preseason poll behind the Creighton Bluejays. Despite being so early in the season, this match may have postseason implications.

“We had our ups and downs,” junior libero Martha Konovodoff said. “This was the first time in conference that we’ve been pushed a little bit, but it was good for us to witness this now rather than later.”

The Golden Eagles did not have a favorable start. The Red Storm took advantage of seven MU errors and won the frame 25-22. 

“(St. John’s) killed it, and we didn’t (in the first),” head coach Ryan Theis said. “They were really clean on first and second touches, they’d get a bad dig, then a secondary set would come flying in. They were all-worldly.”

Prior to Saturday, Marquette had not lost a set since last week against Northern Iowa.

The second set was close from the beginning, but the Golden Eagles gained momentum toward the end and walked away with a 26-24 victory.

MU was trailing 17-10 in the third frame but stormed back after a timeout and won the set 25-23.

“We all just looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, we’re down 17-10. We didn’t know it was this bad,'” Konovodoff said. “We just had to do the simple things that we know how to do, and that was the game plan.”

The fourth and final set was all Marquette from the start. The Golden Eagles cruised to a 25-18 win over a BIG EAST foe. 

Senior Allie Barber led Marquette with 16 kills. Junior Kaitlyn Lines added eight kills, and junior Hope Werch had six kills and 16 digs. Senior Gwyn Jones totaled five kills and six blocks, senior Lauren Speckman put up 22 assists and Konovodoff had 12 digs.

“Those girls are strong. I felt bad for my setters because I was digging them so high,” Konovodoff said. “At the end of the day, I told my blockers to just funnel it to me, and it worked out.”

For St. John’s, Klara Mikelova put up 15 kills, and Efrosini Alexakou and Rachele Rastelli each had 14. 

The Johnnies also had setter Erica Di Maulo total 38 assists and 14 digs, and libero Amanda Sanabia contributed 16 digs.

No. 10 Marquette (13-2) will head to Cincinnati to take on Xavier Wednesday at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time.

“(Xavier) runs it a little bit fast,” Theis said. “They have hitters moving all around along the net. It truly is a different style than anyone else we’ve played.”