Volleyball Readies for Midweek Clash at Xavier
Oct. 7, 2014
MILWAUKEE – The Marquette University women’s volleyball team continues conference play with a 6 p.m. Central time contest on Wednesday against Xavier at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.
The Golden Eagles (12-4, 3-1 BIG EAST) dropped their first match in conference play on Saturday evening to Creighton at the Al McGuire Center to snap their eight match winning streak. MU swept Providence, St. John’s and Georgetown to begin BIG EAST action before the 3-1 loss to the Bluejays.
Sophomore outside hitter Nele Barber was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday afternoon for her play against Creighton and the Hoyas. The Berlin, Germany, native posted 3.14 kills and 2.43 digs per set, while hitting a combined .276 against both squads. She also notched her first career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs in the loss to Creighton.
Classmate Autumn Bailey leads Marquette with 4.02 kills per set this season to rank third in the BIG EAST and is second in the league with 22 aces. The Golden Eagles also sit at the top of the conference leaderboard with a hitting percentage of .257 and are second in opponent hitting percentage at .145.
Wednesday’s meeting with Xavier marks the third contest between the teams since the Musketeers joined the BIG EAST last season. MU won both of the matches last season by 3-1 margins and received significant contributions from a trio of then-first year hitters in Barber, Bailey and Meghan Niemann.
Bailey led the way against Xavier with 39 kills (4.88 per set), 26 of which came in the Nov. 22 showdown at the Al McGuire Center – the second-highest output of her career. Barber hit .306 in the two meetings with 31 kills (3.88 per set), while Niemann averaged 3.00 kills per set on .317 hitting.
Senior Lindsey Gosh has also found a great deal of success against Xavier with 35 kills and .368 hitting in three career matches.
Live statistics for Wednesday’s match will be provided through Gametracker, as will a free live video stream through GoXavier.com.
For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
at XAVIER [9-7 (2-2 BIG EAST) | GoXavier.com | @XavierVBALL]: The Musketeers went 1-1 last weekend with a sweep of Villanova and a four set loss at the hands of Seton Hall to push their BIG EAST record to an even 2-2. Senior setter Aubree Smith was named to the league’s weekly honor roll for her play against the Wildcats and Pirates, against whom she averaged 11.14 assists, 1.71 digs and 1.14 blocks per set while hitting a combined .406. Sophomore outside hitter Abbey Bessler leads Xavier with 3.56 kills per set to rank sixth in the BIG EAST, but is hitting just .195 in 2014. Series History: MU leads 7-5.
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
• BIG EAST Player of the Week: Meghan Niemann (Sept. 22)
• BIG EAST Freshman of the Week: Gabby Benda (Sept. 29)
• The Golden Eagles will host the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Al McGuire Center for the third time in the last four seasons on Nov. 28-29.
• 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 were picked second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll with four first-place votes and are currently receiving votes (13 points) in the AVCA Poll.
• Despite the high expectations, MU’s most consistent starting lineup boasts just one upperclassman, senior Lindsey Gosh, along with four sophomores and a freshman.
• Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey, the 2013 BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Year, was pegged as the conference’s preseason player of the year in August.
• 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.
• 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.
• Marquette’s last loss to a BIG EAST team not named Creighton or Louisville in regular season action was in 2011.
UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will face BIG EAST travel partner DePaul in Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.
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