Barber's 23 Kills Leads Marquette Past Butler 3-1

Nele Barber had 21 of her career-high 23 kills through the first three sets.

Nov. 1, 2013

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INDIANAPOLIS – Freshmen outside hitters Nele Barber and Autumn Bailey led the way with a combined 45 kills as the Marquette University women's volleyball team improved to 8-1 in BIG EAST Conference action with a 3-1 victory at Butler on Friday evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Golden Eagles (16-5, 8-1 BIG EAST) pushed their consecutive set victory streak to 14 by taking the first two frames 26-24 and 30-28, respectively. Until Marquette’s 27-25 third set loss, MU had not dropped a frame since its Oct. 13 loss at Creighton.

"In every set we had the chance to close it out (in regulation), but we just couldn’t do it," Marquette head coach Bond Shymansky said. "We looked like a team serving on the road, we were just kind of off tonight in the serve and pass game. So every time we got to the end with time to close them out we would make a service error. That’s part of the game with a young team but you have to figure it out, fight off those butterflies and forge ahead." 

The Golden Eagles won the fourth frame 25-23 to close out the match in four sets.

Barber notched a career- and match-high 23 kills to lead Marquette, which also received 22 kills from Bailey. MU’s offense hit a combined .339 (71-15-165) against a Butler defense that limited opponents to a mere .148 attack percentage, and was paced by senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein’s 58 assists.

"We have really great balance in our group and our two freshmen outsides did a great job tonight but we are also getting a lot out of our two middles," Shymansky said. "‘Bisky’ (Koberstein) is setting a great game and really a lot of gamesmanship, you can see it’s a chess match for her out there and not just checkers.

"If you try to shot through and play safe with Butler they can grind you up and spit you out. I think overall our ability to rise and hit the ball hard in the end proved to be difference." 

The Bulldogs (18-6, 5-4 BIG EAST) were led by Mary Striedl’s 14 kills, while Stephanie Kranda (12 kills) and Maggie Harbison (10 kills) also reached double digits.

Butler, which entered the match second in the nation with 3.02 blocks per set, was out-blocked by the Golden Eagles 8-7.

"Butler is really gritty and very senior-laden so they are very experienced," Shymansky said. "They definitely weren’t going to let us push them around on their homecourt. It was a hotly contested match and a lot of great volleyball. I am confident that we are going to have our hands full with them again in a couple of weeks and we will have to respond in that moment. I think we created a great new intra-conference foe and it was really a pretty neat moment in that regard." 

Marquette was able to break free from a tie midway through the first set to build a five-point advantage at 22-17 on a Lindsey Gosh service ace. Butler responded out of a timeout to eventually re-knot the frame at 24 before Marquette was able to close the stanza on kills from Barber and Bailey, 26-24.

Bailey led all players in the first with seven kills, while MU hit a combined .314 (15-4-35).

The Golden Eagles pulled out a marathon second set, 30-28, in which they hit .362 (20-3-47), led by Barber’s 10 kills. MU led by as many as four points in the frame and sat at set point, 24-20, before the Bulldogs fought back. Butler pushed Marquette to set point itself, 27-26, as the Golden Eagles called their first timeout. MU answered out of the break with a Barber kill before holding on for the win.

Marquette dropped its first set in almost three weeks in the third set, 27-25, despite sitting at match point 24-22 following a Bailey kill.

The fourth set was another battle before the Golden Eagles prevailed 25-23.

Marquette resumes its road trip at Xavier on Saturday at 6 p.m. Central time from the Cintas Center.




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