Bailey Shines as Marquette Tops Bowling Green, 3-1
Aug 30, 2013
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Freshman outside hitter Autumn Bailey led all players with 19 kills and 16 digs as the Marquette University women's volleyball team won its season opener over Bowling Green, 19-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-23, at the Hampton Inn Invitational in Bowling Green, Ohio.
"It was really great to watch our young players step up and get instantly a little older and a little more experienced and come up big in tight moments," Marquette head coach Bond Shymansky said. "Autumn was effective for us as an outside attacker and also as a back row hitter and did a great job for her first match as a freshman. We were really led in a lot of ways by our passers and our setter, but I loved what our middles did."
Redshirt freshmen middle hitters Meghan Niemann and Jackie Kocken each also made their NCAA debuts against the Falcons and were impressive in the victory. Niemann hit .368 with 10 kills and four blocks, while Kocken added nine kills and seven blocks in starting assignments.
"Meghan and Jackie were both super dynamic and were next to unstoppable," Shymansky said. "Jackie came off her cloud there at the end of the match, but she was a force to be reckoned with. Meghan Niemann did a great job stabilizing and then turning it up a notch and being a go-to hitter for us in the end."
The Golden Eagles combined to hit .225 (55-23-142) in the contest, while holding Bowling Green, which was led by 13 kills apiece from Danielle Tonyan and Paige Penrod, to a .176 attack percentage.
Bailey notched six kills in both the first and final frame as the Golden Eagles improved to 4-1 under Shymansky in season openers.
Bailey was clutch late in the fourth set after BGSU took a 21-19 lead on an MU kill which was overturned. The Burlington, Ontario native hammered down a thunderous kill on the ensuing rally and notched kills on five of MU's final six points.
Marquette came out sluggish in the first stanza and dropped the frame 25-19 after hitting just .128 (13-8-39). The Golden Eagles struggled at the service line where they recorded five errors, as well as with their early passing and were unable to rebound as the Falcons pulled away late.
“At times we played a little shaky out of the gate and more than anything it felt like we were getting slapped around by the momentum and the energy," Shymansky said of the start. "Bowling Green knows who they are and they competed with great team unity early on, but you could see us establish our rhythm, our tempo and our style of play and we started fighting back."
Lindsey Gosh contributed on the final three points in the second set to stave off a Bowling Green set-point and even the match with a 27-25 victory. The Golden Eagles never led by more than a single point in the second until Gosh flew in on the right side with a kill for MU's final point.
Kocken led Marquette in the second with four kills and three blocks and combined with Gosh on a block to put MU at set point, 26-25.
The Golden Eagles gave themselves some breathing room in the third set while hitting .429 (13-1-28) and took the match lead with a 25-17 victory. Erin Lehman led the way with a set-high five kills and played a pivotal role midway through the frame as MU pulled away from a 12-12 tie.
"There are plenty of things for us to work on but any time you can get a win you feel the momentum building from that point on is significant. Bowling Green is a great team and to beat them in their own gym as reigning-MAC champions, I’m sure they will be right back in that picture again, is significant," Shymansky said.
Marquette swept the Falcons 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 on Aug. 24, 2012 to open last season at the Al McGuire Center in the Marquette Challenge. Leman led MU in that contest with 12 kills, while the Golden Eagles combined to hit .327. Lehman was one of three players in double figures for MU on Friday with 11 kills.
The Golden Eagles return to action Saturday at 11:30 a.m. CT against No. 13 BYU, which fell to No. 25 Creighton, 3-1, in Friday's tournament opener. Live stats and a free audio broadcast are available, as is a video stream on a per-per view basis. Links can be found on BGSUFalcons.com