Volleyball Aims to Lock up BIG EAST Tournament Berth
Nov. 5, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team will look to lock up a berth in the BIG EAST tournament semifinals this weekend at the Al McGuire Center when it welcomes St. John's on Friday, Nov. 7 and Providence on Saturday, Nov. 8. Match times are set for 7 p.m. against the Red Storm and 5 p.m. against the Friars.
The Golden Eagles (20-6, 10-3 BIG EAST) currently sit 1.5 matches behind conference-leader Creighton (11-1) in the league standings, but can clinch a spot in the conference tournament this weekend with a pair of victories and a Xavier loss to either Creighton or Georgetown.
MU is seeking its fifth-straight appearance in the tournament semifinals, which it will host at the Al McGuire Center on Nov. 28-29 for the third time in the last four seasons.
Marquette picked up a 20th victory for the fifth time in as many years on Tuesday evening with a 25-20, 25-12, 25-16 sweep at Milwaukee. Sophomore middle hitter Teal Schnurr posted a career-high 10 block assists in the win, while MU out-blocked the Panthers 16.0-1.0. Schnurr's block total was the most for a Marquette player since Rabbecka Gonyo had 11 against Milwaukee on Sept. 12, 2009, and MU's total team blocks were the most in a sweep for MU since at least 2002.
The Golden Eagles previously swept both Providence and St. John's on the opening weekend of BIG EAST play behind 5.67 kills and 4.50 digs per set from sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey. Bailey hit .390 with a pair of double-doubles in the victories, while MU hit .381 against the Friars and .347 at St. John's. Neither opposing squad had a player reach double digit kills as PC hit just .056 and the Red Storm .120.
Bailey and senior Lindsey Gosh were named to the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll on Monday afternoon after helping MU to sweeps of Butler and Xavier over the weekend. Bailey posted 5.50 points per set in the two victories, while Gosh hit .415 with 3.17 kills per frame.
Eight of MU's 10 BIG EAST victories in 2014 have come in sweeps, while the other two wins were four-set decisions.
All individuals who show a used ticket stub from Saturday's men's basketball exhibition opener against Wisconsin Lutheran will receive free admission to the contest against Providence. Friday's contest features a burrito eating contest for all Marquette fraternities during the intermission between sets two and three.
For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
ST. JOHN'S [17-10 (6-6 BIG EAST) | RedStormSports.com | @StJohnsVB]: The Red Storm sit an even 6-6 in conference play heading into the weekend after winning three of their last four matches. Junior outside hitter Karin Palgutova is second in the conference in kills and points per set to MU's Bailey with averages of 4.20 kills and 4.74 points. Junior setter Deniz Mutlugil leads the St. John's offense with a BIG EAST-best 10.86 assists per set as the Red Storm are hitting a combined .237 on the season. Series History: MU leads 8-3.
PROVIDENCE [4-22 (0-12 BIG EAST) | Friars.com | @FriarVolleyball]: The Friars had won four of five matches prior to their first meeting against Marquette to open BIG EAST Conference play on Sept. 26, but have dropped all 12 matches in the league. PC has won just one of its last 40 sets, with the lone frame victory in conference action coming 25-23 in the opening set against St. John's on Oct. 25. Outside hitter Kayla Fitzgerald averages 2.80 kills per set to pace the Friars, while libero Michelle Cruz ranks second in the BIG EAST with 5.02 digs per frame. As a team the Friars sit last in the league in kills, hitting percentage, assists and blocks. Series History: MU leads 2-0.
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
• BIG EAST Player of the Week: Meghan Niemann (Sept. 22)
• BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week: Autumn Bailey (Oct. 13 and Oct. 20)
• BIG EAST Freshman of the Week: Gabby Benda (Sept. 29 and Oct. 20)
• NCAA RPI: Oct. 6 - No. 21; Oct. 13 - No. 28; Oct. 20 - No. 24; Oct. 26 - No. 27; Nov. 3 - No. 21
• 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 (two points) in the latest AVCA Coaches 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.
• Bailey's 89 attacks in MU's four-set victory over Seton Hall on Saturday, Oct. 18 are the most for a player in NCAA Division I this season and the most-ever for a Golden Eagle. Marquette set an NCAA record for a four-set match with 117 points in the win, while Bailey had 25 kills.
• Sophomore middle hitter Teal Schnurr had 10 block assists on Nov. 4 at Milwaukee, marking the first time that an MU player has notched at least 10 blocks since former AVCA All-American Rabbecka Gonyo had 11 on Sept. 12, 2009, also against Milwaukee. Schnurr helped the Golden Eagles to 16.0 total team blocks against the Panthers, the highest MU total in a three-set match since at least 2002.
• 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.
• The Golden Eagles have won 20 matches for a program-record five-straight seasons.
• 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 hit the road for their final two BIG EAST contests away from the Al McGuire Center, beginning Friday, Nov. 14 at Seton Hall at 6 p.m. Central time. MU will also face Villanova on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the same time before heading home.
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