Marquette prepares for challenge against Dayton in West Lafayette

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Photo by John Leuzzi

Marquette volleyball celebrates after a point in its 0-3 loss to Creighton in the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship Nov. 27.

Marquette volleyball will have a tough test Thursday afternoon to keep its season alive.

The Golden Eagles will face a talented Dayton Flyers team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Dayton and Marquette will match up once again at Purdue University’s Holloway Gymnasium just as they did in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, when the Golden Eagles defeated the Flyers in straight sets.

“I actually went home after the Selection Show and I live with my older sister who was at Purdue with us the last time and she’s like ‘this is like deja vu’ and I was like yeah it kinda is,” redshirt junior Claire Mosher said.

Head coach Ryan Theis said for his team to be successful and make a run in the tournament, it will take a combination of multiple different factors.

“We’re a good serving team (though) I didn’t think we served well in the (BIG EAST) final,” Theis said. “Currently, we’re playing the best defense we’ve played all year with this lineup and so that is helpful. You got to handle the first touch and that is a challenge right now based on some of our personnel. But if we can do that, we can get to that next level.”

Redshirt junior Claire Mosher said, with Dayton entering the tournament as one of the best teams in the country in blocks per set 2.59, she is going to have to help keep Marquette’s hitters involved and stray away from blocks.

“Just moving the ball around a lot will help,” Mosher said. “Getting all the hitters involved and make sure that we’re setting it against the flow, with the flow (to) kind of trying to trick the blockers a little bit (as well).”

This year’s tournament will be the first trip to the NCAA’s for 10 Golden Eagles, including graduate student Savannah Rennie who said it is just a normal game at the of the day.

“It’s just volleyball at the end of the day,” Rennie said. “Yeah, you’re on a little bit bigger of a stage. There’s only 64 teams left playing but it’s still volleyball at the end of the day. We know what we’re doing out there, we just got to do it and execute.”

Mosher, who was on Marquette’s team in 2019, said she is keeping the message simple to those who haven’t experienced volleyball on the NCAA stage.

“Just enjoy the ride,” Mosher said. “It’s something that not all teams get to experience and it’s such a fun experience.”

Fast Facts:

  • The Flyers play in the Atlantic-10 Conference, where they defeated Fordham to earn their 15th A-10 Championship title this year.
  • Dayton ranks ninth in the country in aces per set with 1.97 per set. On the season, the Flyers have 209 aces.
  • The Flyers rank No. 22 in the country in blocks per set with 2.59 per set.
  • Dayton had five players named to the A-10 All-Conference First and Second Teams.
  • Over the last 13 seasons, Dayton holds a 167-14 record in A-10 regular season conference play.
  • In the program’s 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, Dayton has reached the Second Round eight times and are 8-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament games.

A look back:

  • Dayton is on a 19-game win-streak with their last loss coming against Michigan on Sept. 18th.
  • Four of Dayton’s five losses on the season came against teams who were ranked or receiving votes. Those losses came against No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 3 Kentucky and RV Wright State.
  • Despite losing each of the last three matches with the Golden Eagles, the Flyers lead the all-time series 21-8 which dates back to 1978 when Marquette was still competing as an independent.

Key Players:

  • Senior outside hitter Jamie Peterson was named the A-10 Player of the Year this year, making it the third season in a row that she’s won the award. On the season, Peterson is averaging 4.42 kills, 2.18 digs, 0.83 blocks and 0.40 aces per set while hitting .266.
  • Sophomore setter Livie Sandt was the A-10 setter of the year. Sandt averaged 9.44 assists per set while also averaging 1.95 digs per set.
  • Senior libero Maura Collins was co-Libero of the Year in the A-10 along with Davidson sophomore Bella Brady. On the season Collins is averaging 3.61 digs per set and has 28 service aces on the year as well.

How to Follow: 

  • TV Broadcast: ESPN+
  • Radio Broadcast: Tyler Peters and Ben Schultz will have the call on Marquette Radio. Go to marquettewire.org/mur to listen.
  • Live Updates: @JacksonGrossMU and @MUWireSports

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