Werch notches 1,000 kills in Golden Eagles’ sweep of Illinois State

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Hope Werch (8) goes up for a kill in Marquette’s 3-0 win over DePaul Feb. 12. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Graduate student outside hitter Hope Werch added another accolade to her Marquette career: 1,000 career kills.

The Neenah, Wisconsin, native accomplished the feat in the third set in No. 25 Golden Eagles’ three-set victory (25-22, 25-20, 25-22) over the Illinois State Redbirds Sunday afternoon.

Werch totaled a team-high 10 kills and ended the afternoon with 1,003 career kills, becoming the 13th player in program history to reach the 1,000 mark.

She is the only player in Marquette history to amass 1,000 kills, 1,000 digs and 150 service aces in a Golden Eagles’ uniform. Werch joins Jamie Mueller as just the second player in MU history with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

Besides her 10 kills, Werch totaled five service aces, three digs, and three blocks.

It was a back-and-forth start in the opening frame, with the score changing 12 times. The Redbirds claimed an early 10-8 lead but after a successful challenge from head coach Ryan Theis the score was brought to one, 9-8.

MU then claimed the set win off a Werch kill and a service error from Redbirds senior Carley Nicholson.

Set two was much the same, with seven total ties happening in the set. After putting a 5-2 run to tie the match at nine, Marquette would begin to pull away. Redshirt first-year middle blocker Carsen Murray would end the frame to give the Golden Eagles’ a 25-20 set win with a kill off the feed from graduate student outside hitter Taylor Wolf.

Murray would finish the afternoon with five kills and two blocks.

Marquette tried to pull away multiple times in the closing set, but Illinois State did not give up fight. After the Golden Eagles took a 17-13 lead late in the set, the Redbirds used a 5-1 run to tie the game at 18.

Both teams would then go two runs of their own, but redshirt junior outside hitter Ellie Koontz would finish it for Marquette on a kill.

Graduate student Savannah Rennie added seven kills, team-high six blocks and two digs while Koontz added six kills and three blocks.

Wolf totaled four kills, 12 assists and 11 digs on the afternoon. It is only the second time that Wolf finished with less than five kills in her career with the Golden Eagles. The last time was Feb. 12 against DePaul.

Sophomore Tamara Otene led the Redbirds with 10 kills. Sophomore Nicole Lund contributed eight kills, three digs and three blocks in the match.

Marquette and Illinois State combined for 20 service errors.

The Golden Eagles (6-0) will return to Milwaukee for a two-game homestand next weekend against No. 3 Kentucky Sept. 11 and in-state rival No. 2 Wisconsin Sept. 12.

This story was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at jackson.gross@marquette.edu or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.