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Marquette Wire

Anchante is back for Marquette — and so is her skill set

Junior+setter+Yadhira+Anchante+was+the+2022+Big+East+Setter+of+the+Year.+%28Marquette+Wire+Stock+Photo.%29
Junior setter Yadhira Anchante was the 2022 Big East Setter of the Year. (Marquette Wire Stock Photo.)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It was a slide — swift, graceful, effective.

Yadhira Anchante had to move faster than her feet would allow in order to control senior Aubrey Hamilton’s receive and get the ball to outside hitter Jenna Reitsma before it hit the ground. So the junior setter slid across the court, got under the ball and forced it up against her momentum to an awaiting Reitsma.

“It was a perfect set,” Reitsma said about the play after the game.

The result of the pass was a Marquette point in the second frame of its 3-0 win over Eastern Illinois Thursday night. Luckily for Anchante, kneepads meant the assist came without scraped legs from the bare, Taraflex-less wooden floor of Holloway Gym.

It’s a play Anchante can make when necessary, and what head coach Ryan Theis said is the exact kind of thing that keeps the Golden Eagles on the front foot. It may not be why Theis picked her up from Iowa Western Community College two years ago, but it is an added benefit of her arrival.

“When she’s playing balls with her hands 14-15 feet off the mat and still keeping the offensive rhythm, it just puts a lot of stress on opponents,” Theis said.

Anchante finished the opening round match with a game-high 25 assists and 14 digs, marking her 13th double-double of the season. She assisted five different Golden Eagles in the sweep and all of them earned at least five kills.

It’s stuff the Lima, Peru native has done in just about every game she’s played wearing the blue and gold. Share the wealth, overwhelm the opposing defense and grind out the victory.

“She really just spreads out the ball to a lot of the different hitters and just keeps us all really in rhythm throughout the rest of the match,” Reitsma said.

Before her arrival, Theis ran a 6-2 (two setters), but once Anchante got there, it became a 5-1 with her as the sole controller of the offense.

Last year, as the lone setter, she was ranked No. 22 among all setters in assists per set (10.78) and averaged 73.5 assists per error committed. She was the 2022 Big East Setter of the Year and the maestro behind the Golden Eagles’ high-tempo offense, which ranked No. 9 in assists per set (13.34) and No. 7 in kills per set (14.41) among all Division 1 women’s volleyball programs.

And after a summer spent playing for her home country in the Copa Panamericana U23 — which she said helped her stay in-form — the ceiling only grew taller for her junior season.

She was a unanimous 2023 All-Big East Preseason Team honoree and would be playing against many of the best programs in the country. A surefire recipe for success? It should have been.

This season started right where last season left off for Anchante. Through the first five games, she averaged 41.4 assists per game while only amassing three errors. Another consistent month and Anchante was in Big East Setter of the Year conversations for the second season in a row.

Then, in the midst of conference play, she missed five games with appendicitis. It was all on a high, going great, until it wasn’t anymore.

“Those two weeks I was out were bad, but I was putting my best effort to be back,” Anchante said.

After recovering, she came back to the Golden Eagles’ starting rotation and brought that slide-around-the-court spunk with her. And it couldn’t have culminated at a better time.

After Anchante’s second set slide-to-kill combination against Eastern Illinois, Marquette went on to close the frame 25-16 and sweep the match shortly after.

“In those types of moments, it just makes the game even more fun, and you can just witness her talent and how she plays with us,” Reitsma said.

Now, the Golden Eagles have to face No. 3 seed and regional hosts Purdue for the second time this season in the Round of 32. The last time the two teams played, they went to five sets and had to battle out the final two frames in extra points, but it was the Boilermakers that came out on top.

Friday night, Marquette can get its revenge and keep the dance party going.

“I want to keep making history with a team,” Anchante said. “Last year, we played really good. We made it to the Sweet 16, and I feel like this year is our goal to maybe go even farther.”

With Anchante — and her skill set — back and firing on all cylinders, that goal is in reach.

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

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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