Volleyball to Host Marquette Invitational
Sept. 9, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball squad will play in the Al McGuire Center for the first time this season when it hosts the Marquette Invitational on Sept. 12-13.
The Golden Eagles (3-2) will kick off action against James Madison on Friday at 11 a.m. before an evening match against Rice at 7 p.m. Play is set to resume Saturday following Briggs & Al's Run & Walk for Children's Hospital with a noon contest against Green Bay, while tournament action will conclude Saturday with an 8 p.m. match against the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Marquette went 1-1 last weekend in Washington, D.C., against American and then-No. 8 Florida State, with a tough five-set setback coming at the hands of the latter. Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey led the Golden Eagles in each match with 15 kills and 17 kills, respectively, and was named to the BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll on Monday afternoon for her efforts.
This weekend's matches will mark the first meetings in program history for the Golden Eagles against James Madison, Rice and UTSA, though MU and Green Bay will meet for the 39th time.
MU is searching for its first tournament title since 2012 when the Golden Eagles captured crowns at the Xavier Invitational and their own Ambassador Hotel Golden Eagle Classic. In the Golden Eagle Classic, Marquette topped Eastern Illinois, No. 23 Michigan (an eventual NCAA Final Four participant) and Wake Forest, but fell to No. 25 Northern Iowa in five sets.
Marquette will also host tournament matches featuring Rice and UTSA against both Green Bay and James Madison over the weekend. The Owls and Roadrunners will not play each other since the two squads are both members of Conference USA.
Live statistics will be available through Gametracker for all eight matches, while free, live streaming video of Marquette's contests against James Madison, Rice and Green Bay can be viewed through GoMarquette.com's All-Access Player.
For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
JAMES MADISON [4-3 (0-0 CAA) | JMUSports.com | @JMUVolleyball]: The Dukes went 2-1 in the James Madison University Invitational last weekend, defeating Hampton and Southeastern Louisiana in four sets each before falling to George Washington 3-0. Sophomore right-side hitter Janey Goodman and senior middle blocker Lizzy Briones were both named to the all-tournament team. Goodman's 96 kills, 4.17 kills per set and 4.72 points per set this season are all the best on the team and place her in the top-50 nationally in each statistical category. Series History: first meeting.
RICE [4-3 (0-0 Conference USA) | RiceOwls.com | @OwlsVB]: The Owls improved to 5-3 on Tuesday evening with a sweep of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi after finishing last weekend 2-1 in the Courtyard Midtown Classic at North Carolina State. Rice suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of the host Wolfpack on Friday evening, but bounced back to beat Connecticut, 3-2, and Toledo, 3-0, on Saturday. Senior middle blocker Jillian Humphrey was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week following the conclusion of the tournament. Humphrey recorded a team-best 12 blocks over the weekend (two solo), including a match-high six blocks in the Owls' five-set win over UConn. Series history: first meeting.
GREEN BAY [1-5 (0-0 Horizon League) | GreenBayPhoenix.com | @gbphoenixvb]: The Phoenix earned their first win of 2014 last Saturday, as the team overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat Central Michigan, 3-2, in the Central Michigan Chippewa Invitational. Green Bay also earned second-set victories against Butler and Marshall at the tournament, but eventually fell to both teams 3-1. Junior right side hitter Taylor Kasal leads the Phoenix with 55 kills this season (2.50 per set), but the trio of freshman Taylor Tokta and sophomores Megan Powers and Shannon Hurley are not far behind with 39 kills each. Series history: MU leads 29-9.
UTSA [2-3 (0-0 Conference USA) | GoUTSA.com | @UTSAvolleyball]: The Roadrunners suffered a pair of close losses last weekend in the Delta Zeta Classic at Texas State to drop to 2-3 on the season. First, UTSA lost to the host Bobcats 3-1 in a rivalry match that saw two sets decided by two points. Then, on Sunday, the Roadrunners got out to a 1-0 lead on Wichita State, but ended up falling in five sets to the Shockers. Senior Dempsey Thornton was named to the all-tournament team, tallying a team-high 39 kills over the weekend and registering nine digs in UTSA's match against Wichita State. Series history: first meeting.
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
All-Tournament: Rams Volleyball Classic (Lindsey Gosh and Meghan Niemann)
Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey is the BIG EAST Conference Preseason Player of the Year. Bailey was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year in 2013 and was the AVCA East Coast Freshman of the Year. She led the conference during league matches with 4.61 kills and 5.35 points per set.
The Golden Eagles were picked second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll with four first-place votes and are currently receiving votes (50 points) in the preseason AVCA Top-25 Poll.
Head coach Ryan Theis is in his first season with the Golden Eagles after six years at Ohio University. Theis entered 2014 as the 18th-winningest active head coach in NCAA Division I (.727) and was the 2009 and 2013 MAC Coach of the Year while leading the Bobcats to four NCAA tournaments.
Marquette made its third straight appearance in the NCAA Championship in 2013.
Marquette reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth-straight season in 2013 and the fifth time in program history overall.
MU won its first BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships in program history in 2013 and went a program-best 15-1 in league action.
UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles return to the road to face No. 10 Florida in Gainesville, Florida on Friday, Sept. 19, before playing Central Florida in Orlando on Saturday and Jacksonville University in a neutral site match at Oviedo High School on Sunday.
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