Volleyball defeats Villanova in four sets on Senior Night

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Volleyball defeats Villanova in four sets on Senior Night

Allie Barber (10) attempts a serve in Marquette's 3-1 win over Villanova at the Al McGuire Center.

Allie Barber (10) attempts a serve in Marquette's 3-1 win over Villanova at the Al McGuire Center.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Allie Barber (10) attempts a serve in Marquette's 3-1 win over Villanova at the Al McGuire Center.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Allie Barber (10) attempts a serve in Marquette's 3-1 win over Villanova at the Al McGuire Center.

Shane Hogan

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For Allie Barber, Lauren Speckman, Madeline Mosher and Gwyn Jones, their final regular season home match ended on a positive note, beating the Villanova Wildcats in four sets (23-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-19).

“I knew we’d get pretty emotional over it,” Barber said. “Lauren and I were talking, we had bets on who would cry first and we held it together pretty well, but our team made it really special for us tonight.”

“I’m a very emotional person to begin with. I’m really proud of myself I didn’t cry,” Speckman said. “Definitely walking with my family and today it hit me, I am this senior on Senior Night. The other was Madeline … it got me.”

Mosher, who has been out with a lower body injury, came in to serve for the 12th point of the first set.

“I was poking her all last two days, ‘Hey can you do this? Can you do this?’ She got healthy enough to do that,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “That meant a lot, and last week we had the Barber to Speckman kill. I’m just trying to shower these guys with as much praise as I can because they’re terrific.”

Even though the Golden Eagles jumped out to an 11-6 lead early in the opening set, the teams traded off points until Villanova won the first frame 25-23.

“They were throwing bullets our way on the serves,” Speckman said. “They were coming out strong. We just had to stay in it. There’s only so long that you can hold that kind of pressure.”

It was a back-and-forth game for the majority of the second set. Marquette won the second frame 26-24 but never led by more than three points.

In the third set, Villanova claimed an 8-6 advantage, but Marquette fought back for a 15-10 lead. MU never relinquished the lead from that point on and ultimately won on a Villanova service error.

“We just had to step it up a notch and weather the storm and get back to what we were doing,” Barber said.

After 11 ties and four lead changes, a Speckman assist and Barber kill fittingly secured the fourth set and match for the Golden Eagles.

Junior Hope Werch finished with a double-double of 16 kills, 14 digs and a .387 hitting percentage. Freshman Hannah Vanden Berg nearly totaled a double-double with 12 kills and nine digs. Junior Martha Konovodoff added 16 digs, seven assists and three service aces.

Junior Kaitlyn Lines sat on the bench in a full leg cast Saturday night and has not competed since Oct. 2. Theis said she will not be playing next week.

Mallory Potts led the Wildcats with 12 kills. Emma Decker dished a match-high 45 assists and Regan Lough ended with a match-high 22 digs. Sophia Howling totaled five of the team’s nine blocks.

No. 9 Marquette (25-3, 15-1 BIG EAST) has its biggest test of the year against No. 14 Creighton at D.J. Sokol Arena Nov. 22. The tipoff is at 6 p.m. The Golden Eagles have not beaten the Bluejays in Omaha since Nov. 30, 2013, in the BIG EAST Championships.

“Right now, we have to rest a little bit,” Theis said. “I think Allie took 50 swings both nights. Hope’s nursing some health stuff in general. So we have to rest and recover a little bit.”

The winner of the match will be in first place in the conference.

“It was good to know that we can kind of fight through those close ones and get a win,” Barber said.

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