No. 19 Marquette off to its best start since 2009 with win over Illinois State

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Photo by Keifer Russell

With its 3-0 win over Illinois State Sept. 18, No. 19 Marquette is off to its best start of the season since 2009.

Sixteen hours after taking down No. 25 Illinois, No. 19 Marquette hosted another team from the Land of Lincoln in Illinois State Sunday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center.

And in similar fashion to Saturday night, the Golden Eagles defeated the Redbirds in straight sets (25-15, 25-17, 25-18) in their non-conference finale.

“Really great effort, I thought Illinois State was possibly the best passing team we’ve played all year and they did a great job handling our serve but we actually out passed them,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “That was a goal going in and I’m really proud of our passers for doing that.”

Marquette moves to 9-1 on the season heading into Big East play, which is the best start to a season for the Golden Eagles since 2009.

The Golden Eagles got things rolling quick in the first set, jumping out to a 14-3 early lead while hitting .750 and not committing an error. Illinois State attempted to mount a comeback as they used a 11-4 run to bring the score to 18-14, but it comeback bid was not enough as Marquette took the set 25-15.

Sophomore Jenna Reitsma stuffed the stat sheet in set one as she finished with five kills, five digs, one assist and one service ace.

After keeping it close early in the second frame, the Golden Eagles flipped the switch behind efforts from senior defensive specialist Carly Skrabak and sophomore setter Ella Foti to take a 2-0 match lead.

The final frame would end up playing out much like the second, as Marquette got out to a size-able lead in the middle of the set before coasting to the victory in the set and the match.

Junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton had an all-around game for the Golden Eagles as she tailed 15 kills, nine digs, three blocks, two service aces and two assists.

“I thought after yesterday and the fifth set we were all on a high and we had so much confidence in ourselves and that kind of fell into today where I had confidence in myself and I knew I could do it, so it kinda fell into place as well,” Hamilton said.

Reitsma finished with seven kills, 12 digs, one block and one assist.

The Redbirds were lead by senior Sarah Kushner who had eight kills and eight digs and hit .138 for the match.

As a team Marquette hit .362 for the match with just nine attack errors, while holding Illinois State .124 and 19 attack errors.

With the win, the Golden Eagles remain undefeated at the Al McGuire Center at 6-0.

Marquette will begin Big East play Wednesday when it hosts DePaul at 7 p.m. CST.

“I’m excited, it’s crazy to think that (the) preseason is already over, but ready to start conference play and head to a Big East championship.” Hamilton said.

This article was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.