Volleyball Begins BIG EAST Play at Providence and St. John's
Sept. 25, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team embarks on its 10th season in BIG EAST Conference play with a not-so-familiar foe in the Providence Friars on Friday, Sept. 26 at Alumni Hall in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Golden Eagles will face PC at 6 p.m. Central time on Friday for the first time as league mates, and will play St. John's at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, New York.
Marquette (9-3) has won its last five matches and is coming off a perfect 3-0 weekend in Florida in which it topped then-No. 7 Florida for its first-ever win over a top-10 foe. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Meghan Niemann was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on Monday for her play after hitting .520 in the three matches, while teammate Lindsey Gosh was named to the league's honor roll.
The Golden Eagles are 85-44 in BIG EAST play since beginning their first season in the conference in 2005. They went 15-1 in regular season action in 2013 on their way to their first regular season and conference tournament titles in program history. MU has advanced to the conference tournament semifinals each of the last four seasons and will host the league championship on Nov. 29-30 at the Al McGuire Center for the third time in four years.
Live statistics will be available for each match through Gametracker, while live streaming video will also be available. Video of the match at Providence can be accessed on Friars.com for a fee, while the match with the Red Storm will be available on ESPN3.com.
For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
PROVIDENCE [4-11 (0-0 BIG EAST) | friars.com | @FriarVolleyball]: After starting the season 0-9, Providence won four of five matches entering this week. All three of the team's matches last weekend at Central Connecticut went the full five sets, as the Friars earned a pair of victories over NJIT and the host Blue Devils. Providence enjoyed a balanced offensive attack at the CCSU Invitational, as Kayla Fitzgerald, Abbie Trzeciak, Annie Russian and Kayla Johnson notched 45, 39, 38 and 32 kills, respectively. The Friars lost their BIG EAST lid-lifter at Seton Hall on Wednesday night in a sweep and were paced by 11 kills from Trzeciak. Series History: MU leads 1-0.
ST. JOHN'S [11-5 (0-1 BIG EAST) | redstormsports.com | @StJohnsVB]: The Red Storm posted a 2-1 record last weekend at the Tiger Invitational, sweeping North Dakota State and defeating Kent State 3-2 before losing to host Towson in four sets. Senior outside hitter Aleksandra Wachowicz and junior libero Shawna-Lei Santos were both named to the All-Tournament Team. Wachowicz also earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, posting 56 kills over the weekend (4.67 per set) and notching her first double-double of the season (12 kills, 10 digs) in her team's victory over North Dakota State. The Red Storm dropped its BIG EAST opener at Villanova on Wednesday evening in five sets. Series history: MU leads 7-3.
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
BIG EAST Player of the Week: Meghan Niemann (Sept. 22)
Marquette's five-set win over then-No. 7 Florida on Sept. 19 marked the first win in program history over a top-10 opponent. The Golden Eagles had lost their previous 12 meetings to ranked foes prior to their triumph over the Gators.
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 (42 points) in the AVCA 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 home for just the second time this season and welcome Georgetown and Creighton to the Al McGuire Center on Oct. 3-4.
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