Volleyball misses out on hosting NCAAs, prepares to take on Dayton

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Volleyball misses out on hosting NCAAs, prepares to take on Dayton

Hope Werch, Allie Barber, Gwyn Jones and Martha Konovodoff (from left to right) react to 2019 Selection Show. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Hope Werch, Allie Barber, Gwyn Jones and Martha Konovodoff (from left to right) react to 2019 Selection Show. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Hope Werch, Allie Barber, Gwyn Jones and Martha Konovodoff (from left to right) react to 2019 Selection Show. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Hope Werch, Allie Barber, Gwyn Jones and Martha Konovodoff (from left to right) react to 2019 Selection Show. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

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A year after Marquette volleyball celebrated as the host university and No. 14 seed in the NCAA volleyball tournament, the 2019 Selection Show did not bring such good news: it sent the Golden Eagles (27-5, 16-2 BIG EAST) to Purdue for a first-round matchup against the University of Dayton (22-8, 13-1 Atlantic 10) Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m. Central Time.

Due to a 3-1 loss Saturday night to St. John’s Red Storm and missing out on a BIG EAST Tournament title for the third straight year, the Golden Eagles did not have a strong enough resume to remain in the top 16. Neither did the Creighton Bluejays (24-5, 17-1 BIG EAST), also falling out of a potential hosting spot.

Head coach Ryan Theis said the loss “cost us from being seeded.” He said a Marquette-Creighton title game could’ve led to both teams hosting.

“We went into this weekend with the ability to control our own fate,” Theis said. “If we’d have taken care of business this weekend and win both (matches), we’d probably have a seed and the ability to host. We didn’t do that.”

Marquette is 27-5 overall, trying to repeat its historic 28-win season from 2018-’19. Last season the Golden Eagles finished with a program-best overall record of 28-7, were runner ups in the BIG EAST Tournament with a 15-2 conference record and made the first Sweet 16 appearance in program history.

As a program, heading to the postseason is not a new feat. Marquette volleyball has appeared in the NCAA Tournament nine consecutive seasons, dating back to its first-ever berth in program history under former head coach Bond Shymansky in 2011.

Since that initial berth, the Golden Eagles have accumulated a 5-8 record in the NCAA Tournament, including one loss to Creighton and Wisconsin and two to University of Illinois.

Since Theis became head coach in 2014, the Golden Eagles have been 3-5 in Tournament play. Last season marked the team’s first trip to the Sweet 16 before losing to then-No. 3 Illinois.

“It’s something I’m proud of,” Theis said. “It’s something we should be proud of as a group and a program. … The record at Marquette is (nine consecutive appearances). We’re going to do everything we can to try and pass that and prove that we’re not just a one-and-done type of team. We’re here to stay.”

If Marquette advances, the Golden Eagles will take on the winner of No. 16 Purdue and Wright State. But first Theis said he’s just trying to focus on Dayton.

“We know we have things to work on and be better at,” Theis said. “At this point in the season, you are who you are. We’ll try to be healthier. That’s not easy, but we’ll start looking at Dayton (on film) tonight.”

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