Marquette Drops Heartbreaker to Illinois State in NCAAs
Dec. 4, 2014
MADISON, Wis. - Despite a two-sets-to-none lead and a 10-5 edge in the fifth set, the Marquette University women's volleyball team lost in heart-breaking fashion to Illinois State in the first round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship at UW Field House on Thursday evening. MU won the first two frames 25-23 and 25-22 before dropping the final three in order 25-22, 25-22, 15-13.
Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey posted a career-high 32 kills in the loss for the Golden Eagles (24-9), while they also received 12 kills each from Nele Barber and Meghan Niemann. Niemann hit .545 in the match and added nine blocks.
Jaelyn Keene led the Redbirds (27-5) with a career-best 19 kills and Missouri Valley Conference Libero of the Year Emily Orrick put up 29 digs in the win. The victory was ISU's 23rd-straight triumph.
The two squads fought back and forth in the opening set before the Golden Eagles prevailed with a 25-23 win on Bailey's 10th kill of the frame. The Redbirds fought back from a couple of late three-point deficits, but it was MU which secured the final two points of the stanza after ISU had tied things at 23.
Bailey added seven digs in the first and hit .562, while Barber posted 11 digs and a pair of kills.
Marquette built a nine-point edge in the second set and held on for a 25-19 victory. The Golden Eagles built their largest lead on the strength of a 9-1 run midway through the frame which culminated with a block from Niemann and Gosh making it 18-9. The Redbirds used their final timeout at that point but were unable to cut their deficit to fewer than five points the rest of the way.
MU hit a combined .300 in the second, led by six kills from Bailey and four from Niemann.
Illinois State used a 9-1 run of its own in the third set to overtake the Golden Eagles 25-22 and extend the match. The Redbirds launched their run after Niemann put MU ahead 15-12 and eventually took their largest lead of the set 24-18. Marquette fought off set point four times with Nicki Barnes serving, but could not close out ISU in three after hitting .196.
The Redbirds evened the match and forced a fifth set by taking the fourth 25-22. The frame featured 13 ties and five lead changes as the Golden Eagles recorded five service and eight hitting errors, while hitting just .174. MU held its last lead at 14-13, but tied the set at 20 before ISU pulled away.
Marquette jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the fifth set, but was unable to sustain its momentum, and after a 6-0 run by the Redbirds, lost 15-13.
MU is 1-2 all-time against Illinois State and defeated the Redbirds in five sets last season on Sept. 25 at the Al McGuire Center. Gosh led MU in that contest with 16 kills on .324 hitting, while Niemann hit .355 and added 14 kills.
Marquette is 2-4 all-time in the NCAA tournament and advanced to the second round in 2011 and 2013 by defeating Western Kentucky and Louisville, respectively, in Champaign, Illinois.
First-year Marquette head coach Ryan Theis, a Madison native, made his fifth appearance in NCAA play as a head coach. Theis' squads at Ohio made four appearances during his tenure in Athens and advanced to the second round on three occasions.
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