For the fifth straight year, Marquette volleyball hoisted the BIG EAST Runner-Up trophy as the Golden Eagles fell to the Creighton Blue Jays in straight sets (20-25, 22-25, 20-25) Saturday’s conference championship game at the Al McGuire Center.
“I thought a really good defensive effort by both teams,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “I was really proud of the way we defended throughout. There was some really good efforts. We just needed to be a little sharper on offense, can’t feed their block that much.”
It is the third time this season that Golden Eagles fell to the Blue Jays this season. With the win, Creighton earned its seventh BIG EAST Championship title in the last nine seasons.
In the first set, both teams traded points to start out keeping the score close. Then Creighton went on a 3-0 run to take a 13-9 lead, forcing Marquette to call a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, the Blue Jays built their lead to as big as six. But the Golden Eagles created a 3-0 run to bring the deficit within three, forcing Creighton to call a timeout of their own. Marquette would get as close as two, before Creighton eventually took the set 25-20.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 9-5 lead to open set two, forcing the Blue Jays to burn an early timeout. Marquette continued their momentum building their lead to 18-12.
It would be the last time Marquette held a lead as Creighton then retook the lead off a 9-0 run and did not relinquished it, rallying back to take the frame 25-22. The Blue Jays hit .229 in the set compared to Marquette’s .171 hitting percentage.
“They’re tough to beat (Creighton), one of the best defensive teams in the country in my opinion,” Theis said. “They can run off a bunch of points in a row, they can transition score it and that’s what it is about them.”
In the third set featured multiple lead changes and ties between both teams.
Though Marquette had a late 16-15 lead in the final frame, a 10-8 outscore by Creighton secured a berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 25-20 fourth-set victory.
Creighton would finish the match hitting .147 while Marquette hit .083.
Graduate student Savannah Rennie led the way for Marquette with 12 kills.
Redshirt sophomore Carly Skrabak and graduate student Taylor Wolf were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Marquette will now await to hear about their fate in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is set for Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. CST on ESPNU.
“I mean we’ll play anybody,” Theis said. “Normally we stick in close.”
“I thought we played really low error the first day and really high error the second,” Theis said. “Can we play low error in a more stressful environment cause our defense is pretty good right now.”
This article was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @benschultz52.