No. 17 Marquette extends home win streak to 14 with sweep over Villanova

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Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton goes up for a kill in No. 17 Marquette volleyball’s 3-0 win over Villanova Nov. 5.

No. 17 Marquette’s undefeated record inside the Al McGuire Center continued Saturday night as it picked up its 14th home victory of the season in a sweep over Villanova (25-16, 25-22, 25-18).

“What I really like about this team, is what are you going to take away, what are you going to stop, who’s going to have an off night and who’s going to score? The left-sides took a huge chunk of the points,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “We talked all week about trying to serve under pressure if we were up or if we were down.”

The first set opened with Marquette going on a 5-1 run. While on a 3-0 late in the set the Golden Eagles extended the lead to 10, 20-10, forcing a Wildcats timeout. Villanova made a late push with a 3-0 run but it wasn’t enough as Marquette won the set 25-16.

Marquette hit .268 in the set while Villanova hit .081.

“Villanova came in with an unexpected lineup,” Theis said. “That kind of throws them in a world of chaos too and similar to Georgetown too, so you’re fortunate to get hot starts tonight on a team that wasn’t at 100% strength, but you have to take care of business no matter what’s over there.”

Villanova got out to an early 8-3 lead in the second set, forcing a Marquette timeout. The Golden Eagles responded and took a 12-11 while on a 7-1 run. Marquette held a lead as big as five, 19-14, before ultimately winning the set 25-22.

The third set started in a similar fashion to the second as Villanova held an early 5-2 lead with the help of a 4-0 run. Marquette fought back eventually going on a 10-0 run thanks to the service pressure put on by senior setter Caroline Dragani. She had three service aces in the run.

“In the 10-point run I think she hit about seven different spots on the floor,” Theis said.

Marquette closed the set on a 3-0 run to win the set 25-18.

Dragoni had a career-high five aces in the match.

“It was really fun,” Dragani said.

Also contributing for the Golden Eagles was sophomore setter Yadhira Anchante with six kills, 11 digs and 34 assists.

“She got dug twice in the first and I said ‘try the edges of the floor instead of the middle.’ She really took that to heart and scored I think behind her head twice and in front of her three times,” Theis said. “It was a pretty nice offensive night for her.”

On the match Marquette hit .243 and Villanova hit .173.

Marquette’s (22-2, 13-1 Big East) next match is Saturday when it travels to Providence, Rhode Island for a match against the Providence Friars (11-14, 3-10 Big East) at noon.

“It’ll be hard. Providence at their place can always give you a heck of a game,” Theis said.

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