Volleyball Tops Xavier to Claim Outright BIG EAST Title
Nov. 22, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team wrapped up sole possession of the 2013 BIG EAST Conference regular season championship with a 26-24, 25-15, 20-25, 25-22 victory over Xavier on Friday evening at the Al McGuire Center.
The Golden Eagles (22-5, 14-1 BIG EAST) earned their program-record 14th BIG EAST victory over the Musketeers and claimed the No. 1 seed in the league tournament, which will be held Nov. 29-30 in Omaha, Neb.
Marquette was led by 26 kills from freshman outside hitter Autumn Bailey and 13 apiece from Lindsey Gosh and Meghan Niemann. Senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein paced the MU offense to a .375 hitting efficiency (70-13-152) with 60 assists.
Senior libero Julie Jeziorowski topped all players with 22 digs, while classmate Rachel Stier became the seventh player in Marquette history to record 1,000 digs in her career with six on the evening.
Freshman outside hitter Abbey Bessler led Xavier (20-10, 11-4 BIG EAST) with 18 kills and middle blocker Alex Blair added 11. The Musketeers hit a combined .284 (58-18-141) in the loss.
The Golden Eagles hit .442 (21-2-43) in the opening set and .500 (18-2-32) in the second frame on their way to a 2-0 lead at the intermission. Bailey led all players with nine kills in the first and six in the second, while freshman Nele Barber sparked MU in the second with five kills.
Marquette came out flat in the third and dropped their first frame at the Al McGuire Center since Sept. 25 by a score of 25-20. MU hit just .186 in the stanza to the Musketeers' .333 clip.
Marquette's set victory streak at home reached 24 straight frames before the loss in the third and was their first set loss in BIG EAST play at the McGuire Center this season.
Gosh landed four-consecutive kills in the middle of the fourth set to help the Golden Eagles pull away for the 25-22 victory. Bessler recorded an attack error with Xavier leading 18-14 and Marquette followed with the next five points on kills from Gosh and Bailey. The Musketeers used their final timeout with MU leading 20-18 to stem Marquette's momentum, but the Golden Eagles held on for the victory.
Until this season, Marquette, which has also competed in the Midwest Collegiate Conference, Great Midwest Conference and Conference USA, had never won a league title of any kind as a member of NCAA Division I.
Marquette is 84-44 in league play since joining the conference in 2005, including a mark of 56-16 under head coach Bond Shymansky. MU has won at least 11 conference matches in the last four campaigns and is a combined 50-8 in those seasons.
Marquette returns to action on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Butler. The Golden Eagles will honor seniors Elizabeth Koberstein, Julie Jeziorowski, Rachel Stier, Catherine Mayer, Casey Read and Courtney Mrotek in a post-match ceremony.