Marquette Improves to 18-3 with Sweep of Cincinnati
Oct. 19, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team continued its dominance in the BIG EAST Conference Friday evening with a 25-19, 25-18, 25-23 sweep of Cincinnati at the Al McGuire Center. The victory pushes the Golden Eagles (18-3) to a perfect 8-0 against league competition heading into their 2 p.m. Sunday showdown with No. 15 Louisville (19-3, 8-1 BIG EAST).
The win marks Marquette's first victory over the Bearcats (8-14, 6-3 BIG EAST) since Sept. 22, 2006, and ends a stretch of six-straight losses to the long-time conference foe.
The Golden Eagles were led by redshirt senior Holly Mertens, who continues to live up to All-BIG EAST Preseason Team billing with 18 kills and a .640 hitting percentage (18-2-25). Mertens paced an MU offense that hit a combined .304 (43-12-102) in the contest, while setter Elizabeth Koberstein notched 39 assists.
Reigning BIG EAST-player of the week Jordanne Scott led Cincinnati with 17 kills, while hitting .359 (17-3-39). The Bearcats hit just .178 (33-15-101) in the match.
Marquette used a 7-0 run in the first set to build a 21-14 advantage and never looked back, claiming the opening frame 25-19. Mertens notched six points during that run, including five of her seven kills in the stanza, before Danielle Carlson ended the set with a service ace.
Scott led Cincinnati in the first with a set-high eight kills on 15 attacks.
Mertens paced the Golden Eagles to a 25-18 second-set victory while hitting 1.000 with kills on all six of her swings. MU hit a combined .344 (14-3-32) in the second, while holding the Bearcats to an attack percentage of .091 (9-6-33).
The Golden Eagles were able to pull out the sweep with a 25-23 win in the third set despite falling behind 9-3 to begin the frame. MU was able to knot the frame at 17 on a Scott attack error and took its first lead at 23-22 on consecutive kills from freshman outside hitter Erin Lehman. MU closed the set 25-23 on a pair of Bearcat errors.
Marquette freshman defensive specialist Ellie Rauch played a pivotal role late in the third set with three clutch digs to help MU overtake the Bearcats.
It was the second straight impressive showing for Mertens after the Stanley, Wis., native notched a career-high 23 kills in MU's last contest Sunday afternoon, a 3-2 come-from-behind victory at Rutgers.
The Golden Eagles have won 11-straight matches and their 18-3 mark signifies their best start to a campaign since joining NCAA Division I.
Sunday's contest vs. Louisville is the Golden Eagles' annual `Dig Pink' match, benefiting the Side-Out Foundation's fight against breast cancer. Fans can help Marquette achieve its donation goal of a $5,000 by donating a set amount or on a per-dig basis for its match against the Cardinals. To donate, go to http://bit.ly/DigPinkMU.