No. 16 Marquette sweeps No. 11 Creighton to win third straight Big East Title

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

No. 16 Marquette volleyball defeated No. 11 Creighton in straight sets Nov. 19 inside the Al McGuire Center for a share of the Big East Regular Season Title.

On a snowy Saturday night outside the Al McGuire Center, there were 3,175 fans inside, wearing white and waving white towels above their heads as No. 16 Marquette welcomed in No. 11 Creighton with a share of the Big East Title on the line.

The Golden Eagles took home the win defeating the Blue Jays in straight sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-21), ending a five-game losing streak to Creighton.

“We love playing Creighton, they’re a great team and we had great support here tonight at the Al,” sophomore outside hitter Jenna Reitsma said. “It was a really fun environment, it brought our momentum for us, we played really clean, we had a really good serving and passing night.”

The environment was the largest this season for Marquette, as the Golden Eagles went 16-0 on their home court.

“Just about everybody that I know in my 20 years of volleyball, in the Marquette area, is here tonight,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “It’s great have a pretty volleyball savvy crowd too. Knowing what’s going on and when to cheer to help us.”

Reitsma finished the night with 11 kills and 13 digs, her ninth double-double of the season.

The game started with Creighton responding to Marquette’s two opening points with a 3-0 run, to give the Blue Jays an early 3-2 lead. The rest of the set was back and forth until Marquette pulled ahead, 22-16 forcing a Creighton timeout.

Marquette won the first set 25-19 while hitting .342 as Creighton hit .286.

Creighton opened the second set with a 4-2 lead before Marquette went on a 5-0 scoring run, forcing Blue Jays’ head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth to call timeout. The set remained neck and neck and it was tied at 16 before Marquette went on a 3-0 run. They didn’t look back the rest of the set, winning it 25-19.

Theis said that the runs helped secure the victory in the second frame.

“I’m always saying to my assistant, Abby (Gilleland) like, ‘let’s run one let’s run one,'” Theis said. “We’re just looking for that point run. Those are the huge differences.”

The third set was give-and-take until sophomore setter Ella Foti achieved her second service ace of the night to give Marquette a 14-11 lead, forcing a Creighton timeout.

After a successful challenge for Marquette, the Golden Eagles scored two points to lead 21-14, forcing  Creighton to take their second timeout of the set. Out of the timeout, the Blue Jays scored three unanswered points, causing Theis to burn a timeout of his own.

The game ended with a kill from Reitsma to solidify Marquette’s undefeated record at home while taking home a share of the Big East Title.

“In that moment (after the kill), I just wanted to be with everybody. We’re all so excited to win this game,” Reitsma said. “It’s an awesome feeling to close up that match, especially when they got a few points on us late.”

As a team the Golden Eagles hit .274 and the Blue Jays hit .219 despite Creighton sophomore outside hitter Norah Sis’ match high 16 kills.

Earlier in the season, when Marquette played at Creighton, the Blue Jays pulled off a reverse sweep to beat Marquette in five sets.

“After that we learned something,” Theis said. “What we learned, we were able to apply over the course of the last several weeks and we got way better. We’ve had an emphasis since our loss to them on three very specific things that I thought we did a lot better.”

Marquette finishes the regular season 26-2 and 17-1 in Big East play. The Golden Eagles next game is November 25th at 4 p.m. CST in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

This story was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU.