Marquette Swept by No. 21 Creighton in NCAA First Round
Nov. 30, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Marquette University women's volleyball team was swept by No. 21 Creighton 25-22, 25-23, 28-26 in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Championship Friday afternoon at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn.
"I was fiercely proud of our group this season," Marquette head coach Bond Shymansky said. "Tonight wasn't our best performance by any stretch but Creighton did a great job of pressing us in the right ways and they have a pretty unique team. I thought our team was unique too this year and I'm certainly very pleased with the 27-7 season."
The Golden Eagles, who end the season 27-7 overall, were led by 13 kills apiece from seniors Danielle Carlson and Holly Mertens. Freshman outside hitter Erin Leman also added 10 kills while junior setter Elizabeth Koberstein notched 41 assists in the three-set loss.
"I told our seniors that they have left a great legacy inside our program and to the rest of our players we said this is a moment where you can burn a little bit to learn a little bit and come back after a better season next year," Shymansky said. "We feel like we are program into something that's perennial so we are just going to have to keep working at it. Our whole team did a great job tonight but I didn't feel like there was any one particular standout. There wasn't any one person that cost us anything, there wasn't any one person that carried us. We tried to do it as a team tonight and we lost as a team tonight. We end our season here in the NCAA tournament and it is an enviable position for a lot of folks."
Creighton improves to 28-3 overall and stretches its program-record winning streak to 17 matches, including 11 away from home. The Jays were led by 14 kills from sophomore outside hitter Leah McNary.
The Bluejays took the first set 25-22 after hitting .412 (16-2-34) to begin the match. Marquette's Kelsey Mattai of nearby Lake Elmo, Minn., gave the Golden Eagles their final lead of the opening set at 7-6 before Creighton went on a 5-0 run to take full control of the frame. Marquette hung with the Bluejays but could not cut its deficit to fewer than a pair the remainder of the stanza.
Freshman Erin Lehman led MU with five kills in the first, while Mertens, Carlson and Gosh each landed four attacks. Creighton's Kelli Browning was perfect on all five of her swings to pace the Jays.
The Bluejays took a 2-0 lead into the intermission on the strength of a 25-23 second set victory, which featured 14 ties and seven lead changes. The Golden Eagles got off to a fast start in the second with the first three points before Creighton used a 5-0 run to take the lead. Marquette held its final lead a 21-20 following a pair of consecutive attack errors by Bober before the Jays closed the frame with five of the final seven points.
MU outhit the Jays .224 to .212 in the second stanza as Creighton went into the intermission barely ahead in overall attack percentage (.291 to .289).
The third frame topped the second with a total of 19 ties and 10 lead changes as Creighton fought off three Marquette set points to take the frame 28-26. Carlson put MU at set point twice at 25-24 and 26-25 before the Jays were able to prevail.
Marquette made its first NCAA appearance in 2011, defeating No. 24 Western Kentucky, 3-1, before falling to eventual national runner-up Illinois in the second round.
Creighton will face the winner of the match-up between the national No. 8-seed Minnesota and Liberty at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Sports Pavilion.