Marquette opens up Homecoming Weekend with four-set win over UConn

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Hope Werch (8) gets ready for a serve in Marquette’s 3-1 victory over UConn Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette volleyball team kicked off homecoming weekend with a four-set win over UConn (25-22,12-25,25-22,25-9) Friday evening at the Al McGuire Center.

It’s the first time that Marquette has played UConn since 2012 as they didn’t play each other last season in the Huskies first season back in the BIG EAST since leaving it in 2013.

“I thought UConn put stress on you. I thought that would be the case coming in and that’s exactly what they did,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “They put the pressure on you from the service line, their setter puts a lot of stress on defensively, some good attackers over there so we definitely were prepared. It’s just that we were a little bit hot, cold there for a little bit.”

Set one was back and forth to start out. In the later half of the set, Marquette put together a 5-0 run to put their lead to 19-13. UConn would persevere and respond with a run of their own to bring the score to 19-17 before eventually coming to within one with the score being 23-22. Back-to-back points from the Golden Eagles secured the 25-22 set victory.

The second set would go much differently. After the Golden Eagles earned the first point of the set, it was all Huskies as they led as big as 14 at one point in the game.

UConn took advantages of Marquette’s struggles in the frame to take the set 25-12. Marquette finished with seven attack errors in the set.

Heading into the third set, Marquette changed up their look as redshirt sophomore Claire Nuessmeier.

“She came in and did a nice job,” Theis said. “We just wanted to maybe get Savannah on the right pin a little bit more and thought that was successful down the stretch and put Claire into the middle.”

First year Jadyn Garrison would sub in for Nuessmeier to serve and added something to the rotation that wasn’t there in the second set.

“I just think about doing what I can for my team and I go in and focus and do it all for my team,” Garrison said.

During the middle part of the half, Marquette put together a 7-0 run to build a 19-13 lead. Despite the Huskies bringing the score close at the end, the Golden Eagles held ground to pull out the 25-22 set win.

In the final set, Marquette dominated from start to finish. After the Huskies started with a 2-1 lead, the  Golden Eagles went on a 10-0 run to make the score 23-6 before taking the set 25-9.

“It was just the exact opposite of the second [set],” Theis said. “We had everything rolling, they were on the struggle bus.”

Graduate student Hope Werch finished with 11 kills on the evening while Savannah Rennie added 10 of her own. Taylor Wolf finished the match one kill shy from recording a triple-double on the night as she finished with nine kills, 27 assists and 14 digs.

Redshirt first year Carsen Murray finished with nine kills and four total blocks.

Marquette (12-2, 3-0 BIG EAST) will now travel down to Chicago to face I-94 rival DePaul Sunday at 3 p.m. CST.

“I’m super excited,” Garrison said. “They’re undefeated in conference play and they’re doing very well so it should be a fun match.”

This story was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at benjamin.a.schultz@marquette.edu or on Twitter @benschultz52.