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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Golden Eagles in search of first Big East title since 2013

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Marquette volleyball celebrates during its 3-0 win over Creighton Nov. 19 at the Al McGuire Center.

On Wednesday at 1 p.m. CST the Big East Volleyball Tournament will commence inside D.J. Sokol Arena on Creighton University’s campus.

There will be six teams playing in the tournament for the first time since conference realignment. The old format of the tournament included four teams.

As the No. 1 seed Marquette head coach Ryan Theis is looking to win the tournament for his first time.

“It’s going to take six of those sets,” Theis said Saturday following their sweep of then-No. 11 Creighton. “Three won’t get it done. You need it two days. You need six good ones.”

Sophomore outside hitter Jenna Reitsma said that continuing to spread the wealth in the attack will be key in post-season play.

“I think that if you keep passing and serving great, we get a lot of team out of system and I think that’s one of the biggest strengths for our team,” Reitsma said. “Across the board we get a lot of kills across all hitters. I think if we keep doing that then we’ll be really well-rounded for the next steps in the tournament.”


First Round — Nov. 23 on Big East Digital Network on FloSports

  • No. 5 UConn vs No. 4 St. John’s at 1 p.m. CST.
  • No. 3 Xavier vs No. 6 Butler at 4 p.m. CST.

Semifinals — Nov. 25 on Big East Digital Network on FloSports

  • No. 1 Marquette vs  3/6 or 4/5 winner at 4 p.m. CST.
  • No. 2 Creighton vs  3/6 or 4/5 winner at 7 p.m. CST.

Championship — Nov. 26 on FS2

  • Winner of both semifinal matches at 5 p.m. CST.

No. 1 seed Marquette (26-2, 17-1 Big East)

Marquette comes into the Big East Tournament ranked No. 14 in the country and as Big East Champions. The Golden Eagles went undefeated at home and their losses this season came solely to ranked opponents, those being at then-No. 6 Wisconsin and at then-No. 21 Creighton. In conference play matches, Marquette finished first in hitting percentage (.306), second in opponent hitting percentage (.162), first in assists per set (13.88), first in kills per set (14.98) and second in service aces per set (1.73).

The Golden Eagles will have a bye in the first round and enter the tournament looking to win it for the second time in program history.

Key Players

  • Junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton will be making her Big East Tournament debut on Friday as the Golden Eagle’s leader in kills per set with 3.37. In conference play, Hamilton averaged 3.56 kills per set which ranked sixth in the conference.
  • Sophomore setter Yadhira Anchante is tied for first in the Big East in assists per set in conference play with 11.35. The Lima, Peru native also has 32 aces on the season which is second most for all Marquette players.

No. 2 seed Creighton (25-4, 17-1 Big East)

Creighton comes into the Big East Tournament ranked No. 15 in the country and have won 17 of their past 18 games. The Blue Jays have won nine straight regular-season conference championships. In conference play Creighton was near the top of the Big East in five team stats, those being second in hitting percentage (.300), first in opponent hitting percentage (.122), second in assists per set (13.72), second in kills per set (14.82) and first in service aces per set (1.85).

The Blue Jays have won seven of the past eight Big East Tournaments.

Key Players

  • Sophomore outside hitter Norah Sis was the Big East Preseason Player of the Year and has ended the regular season leading the Blue Jays and Big East in kills per set with 4.19. Sis has hit .244 on the season while also averaging 2.48 digs per set.
  • Sophomore setter Kendra Wait is tied as the Big East leader in assists per set averaging 11.35 in conference matches. Wait is also known to try and get kills from the setter position, catching teams off guard as she averages 1.05 kills per set.

No. 3 seed Xavier (18-10, 11-7 Big East)

Xavier is in the Big East Tournament for the first time since 2016. The Musketeers enter the Big East Tournament winning seven of their past 10 games. In conference play, the Musketeers finished third in hitting percentage (.251), sixth in opponent hitting percentage (.220), fifth in assists (12.32), fifth in kills (13.50), seventh in blocks per set (1.90), sixth in service aces per set (1.34) and second in digs (16.24).

Xavier earned wins over Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati in non-conference play. They enter the Big East Tournament looking to win it for the first time ever.

Key Players

  • Senior outside hitter Brooklyn Cink is the main target when Xavier looks to attack. Cink leads the team in kills per set with 3.42 and in conference play, she averaged 3.56 which ranked seventh in the conference. She also finished the season averaging .32 service aces per set which ranked ninth in the Big East for conference matches.
  • Senior setter/right side Carrigan O’Reilly is the primary setter for Xavier. She’s averaging 10.44 assists per set in conference play which ranks fourth in the Big East.

No. 4 seed St. John’s (18-12, 10-8 Big East)

St. John’s will be one of the two teams to benefit from the expanded Big East Tournament field. The Red Storm entered the year predicted to finish fifth in the Big East and they outperformed that. St. John’s finished the season first in blocks per set (2.42), third in assists per set (13.22), third in kills per set (14) and fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.205) across conference matches.

They’ve won the Big East Tournament twice, most recently in 2019. 

Key Players

  • Graduate student right-side hitter Rachele Rastelli has been a staple for the Red Storm and in the Big East. The left-handed attacker finished conference play third in kills per set with 3.88. Rastelli hit .257 on the season and had 95 total blocks, good for second on the team.
  • Sophomore setter Wiktoria Kowalczyk stands at six foot three and finished the season fifth in the Big East in assists per set with 10.23 in conference matches.

No. 5 seed UConn (16-13, 10-8 Big East)

UConn started conference play with five straight losses but turned it around as it finished the season winning 10 of its last 13 games. The Huskies finished fourth in hitting percentage (.248), fourth in kills per set (13.81) and third in service aces per set (1.42) across conference matches.

UConn went 2-0 in their season series versus Xavier this season. They have never won the Big East Tournament and will look to do so this year.

Key Players

  • Senior outside hitter Caylee Parker is the Huskies leading attacker, finishing the season hitting .238 and averaging 3.46 kills per set. In conference play, Parker averaged 3.82 kills per set which ranks fourth in the Big East.
  • Senior middle blocker/right side Kennadie Jake-Turner was the most efficient hitter for UConn. She finished the year with a .293 hitting percentage and in conference play, she hit .318 which finished eighth best in the Big East. Jake-Turner also led the Huskies in blocks, finishing the year with 99.

No. 6 seed Butler (16-14, 10-8 Big East)

Butler was projected to be on the outside looking in before the season when it was ranked seventh in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bulldogs seemingly exceeded expectations by finishing sixth. In their last 10 games, the Bulldogs went 6-4. In Big East play Butler finished first in digs per set (16.94), second in blocks per set (2.40) and fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.203).

Butler has never won a Big East Tournament.

Key Players

  • Junior middle blocker Marisa Guisti was a wall at the net this season for Butler. In Big East play Guisti finished second in blocks per set with 1.16. Guisti also finished with the second-highest hitting percentage for Butler, hitting .240 on the season.
  • Junior libero Jaymeson Kinley has been a defensive anchor for Butler this season. Kinley led the Big East in digs per set finishing conference play with 5.71.

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

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