Mueller Shines as Volleyball Triumphs Over Villanova, 3-2
Oct. 29, 2006
VILLANOVA, PA. - Sunday afternoon in Villanova, Pa., the Marquette volleyball team survived a two-games-to-one deficit to rally and defeat Villanova, 3-2 (25-30, 30-19, 28-30, 30-19, 15-13), thanks in large part to a Golden Eagles single-game record 38 kills registered by senior Jamie Mueller. MU improved to 8-3 in the BIG EAST and 13-11 overall with the victory and can secure a place in the conference tournament in its next match, Nov. 5, with a victory over Connecticut.
"Jamie was unbelievable today," said head coach Pati Rolf. "She basically took the team on her shoulders today and carried them. The team did a good job defensively, and offensively, Jamie took it to a whole new level."
Not only did Mueller break the kills record, previously held by junior Kimberley Todd (35 vs. Seton Hall, Nov. 5, 2005), she also registered her 19th double-double of the season (14 digs) and made just 10 errors on 61 attempts for a 45.9 hitting percentage.
"This game just really helped us with our momentum, being able to move up a little bit in the conference," said Mueller. "If we can win a couple next weekend, we have the potential to move up into a tie for the second position and put us in a better position come the conference tournament.
Rolf said one of the team's goals this year was to finish the regular season at least third place in the conference, and she is excited to still be in contention to do so.
"It is turning out to be a three-way battle for the third spot in the conference standings as we come down to the end of the regular season with us, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. It is really nice that we are keeping ourselves with an opportunity to get a top-three seed in the tournament. We are fighting with some great teams and it is really exciting for us."
The Wildcats scored six of the first eight points to start the match, but only before the Golden Eagles tied the score at 6-6 on an attack error by VU. With the score still tied at 8-8, Villanova went on a 5-0 run to take a 13-8 lead. An ace by senior Lauren Pierce cut Marquette's deficit to two at 14-12, and then an ace by senior Nicole Wallace made it one at 17-16. The Wildcats again pulled away, scoring six unanswered at that point, to increase their lead to seven at 23-16, but the Gold Eagles answered, scoring five-straight points, including three kills by Mueller, to cut the Villanova lead to two at 23-21. MU would get no closer than two as VU would take a 1-0 match lead with a 30-25 game-one victory.
Mueller tallied four kills early in the second frame for the Golden Eagles as they took a 9-2 lead. Ahead 14-6, the Wildcats made a charge, scoring four consecutive points to cut their deficit to four. With Marquette still in the lead at 22-17, it went on a 4-0 run, culminating in a kill by Wallace to go up by nine at 26-17. MU's largest lead of the game came on the final point when a hitting error by VU gave the Golden Eagles a 30-19 victory.
Villanova started out game three with an 8-4 lead, but down two at 14-12, Marquette scored four-straight points, two coming on aces from Renfrow, to take a 16-14 lead. A kill by freshman Leslie Bielski increased the lead to three at 22-19. Back came the Wildcats, however, scoring six of the next seven points to regain the lead at 25-23. Kills by Mueller tied the game at 25-25, and at 28-28, but VU scored the final two points to win the frame 30-28, and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the Golden Eagles' 30-19 game-four victory, the team took an early five-point lead at 8-3 on blocks by Mueller and Wallace before going on a 7-1 run to increase its to eleven at 15-4. A kill by Mueller gave MU a 12-point advantage at 22-10, and a smash by Wallace matched the largest lead of the game at 28-16. Wallace tied the match at 2-2, five points later, with an ace.
Villanova started the final frame with an early 4-2 lead before an ace by Bielski tied things up at 5-5. Down 8-6, Marquette went on a 3-0, culminating in an ace by Wallace, to take a 9-8 lead. Down 11-10, the Golden Eagles, yet again, scored three-straight points to take a 13-11 lead, and then, fittingly, Mueller tallied the match's final point with a kill to give MU a 15-13 win.
Wallace tallied a game-high three aces for the Golden Eagles, who registered 11 as a team, the most this season. Todd also led the team with five blocks (1 BS, 4 BA) as it improved to 4-1 in five-game matches.
Alona Cherkez registered a team-high 19 kills for Villanova.
Marquette returns to the Al McGuire Center for one final weekend series when it hosts Connecticut, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., and then St. John's, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. on Senior Day.
"Our team is improving, maintaining consistency and really turning it on when they need to. I like what is going on, especially with our leadership on the team. We are just hoping to finish strong and have a great opportunity in the playoffs. Connecticut has played well this season and has a great coach leading it. We need to come out ready Friday night and be consistent."