No. 14 Marquette falls in title game despite comeback effort to No. 15 Creighton

Marquette+volleyball+fell+to+Creighton+in+five+sets+in+the+Big+East+Volleyball+Championship+Game+Nov.+26.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics%2FSteven+Branscombe%29.+

Marquette volleyball fell to Creighton in five sets in the Big East Volleyball Championship Game Nov. 26. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics/Steven Branscombe).

For the third season in a row, the No. 14 Marquette found itself matched up with the No. 15 Creighton for a shot at the Big East Tournament Title.

Despite a collegiate career-high 25 kills and another double-double from junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton, the Bluejays would go on to win their fifth conference title in six seasons as they took down the Golden Eagles in five sets (16-25, 25-20, 25-18, 31-33, 15-12) Saturday night at D.J. Sokol Arena.

Marquette would get the first run as it went up 8-2 early before Creighton head coach Kristen Bernthal Booth called timeout. The Blue Jays were able to cut the deficit to just three points at 13-10, but the Golden Eagles were able to outscore them 12-6 to take set one 25-16.

Hamilton had seven kills to lead all players, along with six digs.

Golden Eagles hit .349 with 17 kills and four blocks while limiting the Blue Jays to a .049 hitting percentage with nine kills, seven attack errors and one block.

Set two began the same as set one, with Marquette taking the early lead, 5-2. However, it was all Creighton after that, as the Blue Jays would go on a 7-2 run to take their first lead of the match at 9-7.

Sophomore outside hitter Norah Sis would have three of those points, including two kills and combined with a block.

Marquette would bring the match back even at 14, but Creighton was able to out outscore the Golden Eagles 11-6, including a 4-1 run to take set two 25-20.

The Blue Jays flipped the script, hitting .472% with 18 kills and just one attack error. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles hit .222 with 13 kills and five attack errors.

The third frame played out much like the second, as Marquette took an early lead before Creighton would find a way to get in front. After the match was tied at 8-8, the Blue Jays would go on a 8-2 run to take a 16-10 lead before Marquette head coach Ryan Theis would call timeout.

Creighton outscored Marquette 9-5 to finish out the stanza to win it 25-18, taking a 2-1 set lead in the match.

It was a slow start for the Golden Eagles as they looked to try and keep this match alive, falling behind 10-5 early in set four.

Marquette would start to gain some momentum, as they tied it up at 17-17, before earning their first lead at 20-19. It was the first time Marquette had led in the match since 8-7 in set three.

Set four down the stretch would turn into a marathon as there were eight set points throughout, seven coming for the Golden Eagles.

Creighton did have a chance to end the match in the fourth frame as a kill from Big East Player of the Year in Sis gave the Blue Jays a 31-30 lead.

It would not come to pass as sophomore outside hitter Jenna Reitsma would get a kill to tie it back up at 31-31. Sis would then commit an attack error and then a net violation to hand Marquette set four by a final score of 33-31, forcing the title game to a fifth set.

Creighton began the final stanza with a 6-3 run, in which Marquette flipped to a 9-8 lead of its own after 6-2 extended run.

The Bluejays would get the first two points out of the timeout, one coming on a service error from senior defensive specialist Carly Skrabak. Creighton retook the lead at 10-9 before Marquette followed with a timeout.

The Golden Eagles would end up tying it back up at 10-10, but the Bluejays and Sis responded back with two straight points to take a 12-10 lead.

After a kill from Big East Setter of the Year sophomore Yadira Anchante got a kill, Creighton grabbed two more points in a row to bring it to match point at 14-11.

Senior middle blocker Kiana Schmitt committed an attack error giving the Golden Eagles life, but it was quickly shut down as on the next serve as Schmitt and sophomore setter Kendra Wait blocked Hamilton to win the match 15-12.

Marquette committed 11 service errors on the night, including five in the deciding fifth set.

Anchante put up a career-high 25 digs in the effort with no reception errors, to go along with her 57 assists and two service aces. Skrabak also posted 19 digs on zero reception errors.

Offensively, sophomore middle blocker Hattie Bray and junior middle blocker Carsen Murray had a combined 27 kills on 46 attempts while only committing four attack errors.

For the Blue Jays, Sis and Big East Freshman of the Year Ava Martin powered the Creighton attack as Sis had 23 kills, while Martin put up a career-high 22 kills while also posting four digs.

Creighton put up a strong effort at the front line as they had 13 blocks to Marquette’s seven, while the Golden Eagles also had six block errors.

Marquette (27-3, 18-2) will await to see where it will end up in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. CST during the NCAA Selection show on ESPNU.

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