MU Tops Butler in BIG EAST Semis, 3-1
Nov. 29, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. – The Marquette University women's volleyball team advanced to the final of the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Volleyball Championship for the second time in as many years with a 3-1 semifinal victory over Butler on Friday afternoon at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Freshman Nele Barber paced the Golden Eagles (24-5) with 18 kills while hitting .500 with just a pair of errors on 32 swings. Senior libero Julie Jeziorowski posted her second-highest dig total of the season with 29, while fellow captain Elizabeth Koberstein paced the MU offense to a .293 hitting percentage with 49 assists.
Butler (24-8) was led by 18 kills from junior outside hitter Belle Obert and senior setter Morgan Peterson posted a double-double of 43 assists and 15 digs.
The Golden Eagles built a 15-11 edge at the media timeout in the opening set and pulled away from there to a 25-18 win. Middle hitter Meghan Niemann led MU five kills on six swings in the first as Marquette hit a combined .364 (16-4-33) with four kills also coming from Barber.
Butler broke free from a 10-10 tie in the second set and claimed 15 of the final 19 points for a 25-14 victory. Marquette hit just .143 in the set, while the Bulldogs hit .394 with 15 kills and just a pair of attack errors.
Marquette withstood an 8-1 Butler run midway through the third set and won 25-22. MU led 11-7 before the BU run and the Golden Eagles clawed their way back from there. The stanza was tied as late as 20-20 before a Bulldog service ace and a kill from Barber give MU the edge it needed at 22-20.
The Golden Eagles used an 8-2 run themselves in the fourth set to claim a 25-16 win and close out the match. Barber added five kills and Niemann closed out the match with her 13th kill.
MU has won at least one BIG EAST tournament match in five straight trips to the league playoffs (2006, 2010-13). The Golden Eagles advance to just their second BIG EAST title match and third as a member of any NCAA Division I conference. They fell to Louisville in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship and the 2004 Conference USA tournament.
Marquette returns to action at 5 p.m. on Saturday against tournament-host Creighton. The Golden Eagles and Bluejays are each looking for their first BIG EAST tournament title.