Volleyball sweeps St. John’s in BIG EAST contest

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Graduate student Savannah Rennie finishes off a kill in Marquette’s 3-0 win over St. John’s Oct. 15. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

After splitting two-game road trip last weekend, Marquette volleyball returned to the Al McGuire Center to face St. John’s in game one of a three-game home stand.

The Golden Eagles picked up their sixth win in BIG EAST play sweeping the Red Storm in straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-22) Friday night.

“I thought St. John’s played hard as we expected they would,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “I thought the key was our serving. Six aces, six errors, a pretty good night.”

As the trend has been all season, Marquette jumped out to an early lead in the first half, After finding themselves in a 7-2 deficit, St. John’s pulled within one with a 4-0 run. The Golden Eagles would respondĀ and go on a 6-1 run to bring the score to 15-10.

“I thought if you can build up a lead against these guys it’s pretty important,” Theis said. “That was kind of the story in the first two sets was build a lead and they (St. John’s) crept back in.”

The Golden Eagles would end the set winning it 25-23 off a kill from graduate student Savannah Rennie. Rennie and graduate student Taylor Wolf would both have four kills in the first set while the team hit .175 and St. John’s would hit .225 in the first set.

Like the first set, Marquette opened set two up a 7-3 lead forcing St. John’s to call a timeout. The Johnnie’s would come within two late in the set forcing the Golden Eagles to call a timeout of their own.

Coming out of the timeout, Marquette would score from a St. John’s service error and three kills from graduate student Hope Werch to take the set.

“She was feeling it,” Theis said. “The last one to win that set was just a terrific shot against a big block on a tight ball and she just went up and got it.”

St. John’s started the third set by taking its first lead of the match. The set would be back and forth until Marquette called timeout down 19-18.

“He (Coach Theis) definitely said just focus on our side, play our game, follow the game plan,” Wolf said.

The timeout would serve to be key for the Golden Eagles as they would outscore St. John’s 7-3 during the remainder of the set to win the match.

Coming off BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors, Wolf led the way on the night for MU with 14 kills, 11 assists and nine digs.

“I think just hard practices during the week and just coming in and grinding each day,” Wolf said. “I know school’s getting tough, midterms are coming up, but when I’m in the gym, (I’m) just staying focused to get better.”

Werch was able to add 11 kills with redshirt first-year Carsen Murray having eight kills while hitting a match best .583.

The Golden Eagles finished the match hitting .226 and the Red Storm hit .225. Giorgia Walther led the way for St. John’s with 13 kills and six digs.

Marquette (15-3, 6-1 BIG EAST) will return to action tomorrow night hosting the Seton Hall Pirates at 6 p.m. CST. The game can be stream on the Marquette University Television YouTube page.

“They’ll (Seton Hall) finesse you a little bit which can cause some disruptions whereas St. John’s wants to kill it,” Theis said. “So I would think there will be some long volleys tomorrow. They’re pretty scrappy defensively and they can score it in a couple of different positions, so I think we’ll have our hands full.”

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