Marquette Denies Xavier in Three Sets
Nov. 1, 2014
MILWAUKEE – The Marquette University women’s volleyball team completed its third consecutive sweep on Saturday night at the Al McGuire Center, with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-18 victory over Xavier.
Outside hitter Autumn Bailey led the Golden Eagles (19-6, 10-3 BIG EAST) to their second victory over Xavier this season with 13 kills, including seven in the first frame. Classmate Nele Barber came up big in the second set with six kills on her way to 12 overall and a hitting percentage of .440. Barber also finished with her third-consecutive double-digit dig match, with 13 on the night.
The duo led the way in a contest that Marquette controlled from the outset. The Golden Eagles did not trail in any of the three sets and the score was tied just four times.
Xavier’s kill leader, Abbey Bessler had a strong outing with 12 kills for the match, but the Musketeers as a squad were held to just a .123 hitting percentage.
The win allows the Golden Eagles to keep pace with Seton Hall in a tie for second place in the BIG EAST Conference standings at 10-3. Both squads are two games behind Creighton, while Xavier falls to 15-10 overall and 8-5 in league play.
The Golden Eagles showed no signs of fatigue to start the first set in the second match of a back-to-back weekend, as they jumped out to a 16-8 lead behind a balanced attack, hitting .382 in the frame. Five players recorded kills in the first set, led by Bailey with seven. The quick start put the Musketeers back on their heels forcing them to exhaust two timeouts before either team reached 20.
Xavier entered the night with the BIG EAST’s best road record at 6-1 and did not go down without a fight. After MU pulled out to a quick 9-7 second set advantage, Xavier pulled even at 10 behind Bessler’s seven kills in the frame. But Barber responded with a run of her own, reeling off three consecutive kills to give MU a 15-11 lead.
MU looked to have set two under control at 23-14 until Xavier scored eight-straight points. With the Golden Eagles on their heels, Bailey and Niemann combined for a huge block to force set point allowing junior outside-hitter Erin Lehman to put down a go-ahead kill for the set victory.
Bessler and outside hitter Makayla Agin did their best to keep Xavier alive in set three with a combined seven kills, but after a brief 13-13 tie the Golden Eagles took off to score 12 of the next 17 points to win the match. In the final stanza, it was MU’s defense that allowed them to go on the run after they recorded three key blocks to hold the Musketeers to a .070 hitting percentage.
The Golden Eagles return to action in a 7 p.m. Tuesday match across town against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, MU head coach Ryan Theis’ alma mater, at the Klotsche Center. The contest will be broadcast live through the Horizon League Network and tape-delayed on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in Wisconsin. The first airing will be Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
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