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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette upsets No. 11 Kentucky in dramatic fashion

Marquette volleyball celebrates after its 3-2 upset win over No. 11 Kentucky Aug. 26. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Inside an air conditioned-free University of Kentucky Memorial Stadium, the Marquette Golden Eagles came out hot on their way to an upset win over No. 11 Kentucky (25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 16-25, 15-12) to open the season Friday night.

With a younger team compared to last season Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said he was impressed with his team.

“To come out with that kind of energy and effort and execution in three of the five sets was fun and impressive,” Theis said to the Marquette Wire.

The upset victory continues Marquette’s streak of winning its season opener to 11 straight, nine of which have come under Theis.

Additionally, it is just the second time that the Golden Eagles have beaten the Wildcats in program history.

Marquette started the first set with an early 5-2 lead behind a 4-0 scoring run. The Wildcats then battled back to tie the set at 10 before the Golden Eagles responded with another extended run. Sophomore middle Hattie Bray had a solo block to give Marquette a 17-13 lead  forcing a Kentucky timeout.

The timeout slowed Marquette’s momentum as Kentucky went on a 5-1 scoring run to tie the set at 18. Marquette then closed the set by outscoring Kentucky 7-3 to claim the set 25-21. In the set, the Golden Eagle hit .306 while the Wildcats hit .152.

The Wildcats held multiple four-point leads in the second set and led 18-14 before the Golden Eagles fought back with a series of scoring runs. The most important of those runs, for Marquette, came from the final three points to win the set 25-22. Marquette hit .361 in the set and Kentucky hit .286.

After falling into an early deficit, Kentucky came out in the third set hot jumping out to an 11-6 lead, which forced  Theis to call a timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, the Wildcats continued to keep their foot on the gas as they got out to their biggest lead of the match, 17-10.

First-year outside hitter Natalie Ring saw her first action as a Golden Eagle and provided a spark with two kills during a 4-0 Marquette scoring run to bring the score to 18-15.

The run would not be enough as in the third set, Kentucky slowed the Marquette attack and won the set 25-18. Kentucky outhit Marquette .559 to .355 in the set.

The fourth set would open with the first combined six points coming from errors and Kentucky leading 4-2. Shortly after, Marquette went on a 4-0 run to get its first lead of the set, 7-5. Kentucky then responded by scoring seven of the next eight points, building a lead too significant for Marquette to come back from, leading 19-10. The Wildcats went on to win the set 25-16 forcing a fifth set. In the set, Kentucky hit .143 and Marquette hit .031, its lowest of any set in the match.

Going into the final set, Kentucky had nine aces to Marquette’s zero and Kentucky had 12 service errors to Marquette’s 11. This meant Kentucky had an eight-point advantage coming from the service line.

“It disrupted the flow. They (Kentucky) were figuring out some spots they could hit with a serve that would make our life harder, and it did,” Theis said.

Marquette would eventually allow zero aces and had no service errors in the fifth set. The Golden Eagles were able to get out to an early lead before Kentucky came back with a 4-0 run. Marquette regained control going on a 4-0 run to take a 9-5 lead over the Wildcats.

The Wildcats crept back to within one, 12-11, before the Golden Eagles called a timeout. Out of the timeout, sophomore setter Yadira Anchante snuck one by the Kentucky blockers as they rotated to try and block Bray.

Junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton put the nail in the coffin to seal the upset for Marquette with a kill, taking the final set 15-12.

In her first match as a Golden Eagle, Hamilton led the way with 18 kills, seven digs and two total blocks. Sophomore setter Ella Foti was the only other player with double-digit kills at 12 along with nine digs and five assists in her Marquette debut.

Kentucky was led by senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins, who finished with a match-high 26 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Erin Lamb came off the bench for the Wildcats and finished with 18 kills.

On the night, Marquette finished hitting .288 and Kentucky hit .296.

The Golden Eagles (1-0) will be back in action on Saturday when they play Ohio at 3 p.m. CST in Lexington, Kentucky. It will be streamed on ESPN+.

This article was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @benschultz52.

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