Golden Eagles Welcome Several New Faces in 2017
Aug. 21, 2017
Coming off a season that saw the Golden Eagles make their sixth-straight NCAA Tournament and finish second in the BIG EAST, the Marquette volleyball team looks to continue its success under head coach Ryan Theis in his fourth season at the helm.
Marquette returns star middle hitter Jenna Rosenthal, who notched 2.3 kills a set in 2016 and spent her summer playing with the U.S. Collegiate National Team throughout Europe. Rosenthal was named a unanimous selection to the preseason All-BIG EAST team. The redshirt junior has made the All-BIG EAST First Team each of her first two seasons.
Allie Barber and Madeline Mosher, a pair of sophomore middle hitters, also return to the team. Barber picked up 2.13 kills a set last year and earned conference first team honors while Mosher notched .92 kills a set. Setter/defensive specialist Abby Julian, lone senior Manon Geoffroy and setter Lauren Speckman round out the returners.
To continue their winning ways, the Golden Eagles will have to embrace the youth movement as they welcome seven freshmen and eight total newcomers after losing six letterwinners from last season. Marquette’s recruiting class earned a No. 21 national ranking, headlined by No. 39 recruit Elizabeth Orf out of St. Louis, Missouri. Orf is a 6-3 middle blocker who racked up over 1,100 kills and 545 during her junior and senior high school seasons. The PrepVolleyball Club All-American will slot into the spot vacated by the graduation of Meghan Niemann and will make an immediate impact for the Golden Eagles.
Marquette also adds the 2016 Northeast Wisconsin Player of the Year in Hope Werch. Werch notched nearly 2,000 kills during her high school career and geared Neenah High School to its first Division I state title since 1978. The three-time FVA Conference unanimous player of the year will help fill the outside hitter position for the Golden Eagles.
Sandy Mohr was a late addition to Marquette’s roster, joining the team just before the first week of pre-season practice. Mohr competed at NAIA school Evangel and hails from Muskego, Wis. At Evangel she averaged 2.24 kills per set and hit at a .257 clip.
Sarah Rose joins the team from Elmhurst, Illinois and will play setter, a position in which she notched 2,605 assists and 865 digs over her high school career. Rose is a 2016 AVCA All-American nominee and a 2016 West Suburban All-Conference selection.
Another Illinois native, Martha Konovodoff brings her 1,660 career digs from the defensive specialist position to the team. Hailing from Sugar Grove, Konovodoff won the 2016 AAU National Championship and won four regional championships throughout her high school career.
Liza Kastrup brings some international experience to the 2017-18 squad, as she makes her way to Marquette by way of Germany. Kastrup plays right-side hitter and was named most valuable player nine times throughout her 2016-17 season.
Completing the recruiting class is Texas pair Kortlyn Henderson and Gabbi Martinez, who hail from Waco and Austin, respectively. Henderson is an explosive athlete who set her high school record for most kills in a game with 32 and made first team All-District the past two seasons. Martinez brings a defensive specialist mindset to the table after recording 608 career digs and being named an AVCA Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention.
The final new addition, transfer Anna Haak, joins the Golden Eagles for her junior season from the University of Miami. The former Hurricane tallied 3.21 kills per set and 2.36 digs a game as an outside hitter during her sophomore year.
The new group will be forced to gel early on, as the Golden Eagles face immediate challenges in a pair of early-season tournaments. Marquette travels to Hawaii at the end of August to battle Hawaii, UCLA and San Diego. UCLA finished last season ranked eighth in the country and will provide a tough match-up for the Golden Eagles in just the second game on the slate. Meanwhile, Hawaii and San Diego also earned national rankings, clocking in at No. 12 and No. 14 respectively on the AVCA Coaches’ poll.
After this three-game gauntlet to start the season, Marquette heads to Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend to take on the likes of Miami (Oh.), Wichita State and IUPUI before heading to the Al McGuire Center for its first home matches of the season. In the only two home games in the non-conference slate, the Golden Eagles battle Loyola and Kentucky. Kentucky also picked up a national ranking at the end of last season, coming in at No. 24 in the coaches’ poll.
The Golden Eagles next head on the road to play Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Southern Miss over a four-day period before beginning BIG EAST play at Butler Sep. 9. The Bulldogs finished just ahead of Marquette in the preseason poll with 66 total points and are led by Preseason All-BIG EAST outside hitter Anna Logan.
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