Another sweep at the hands of a ranked opponent left the Marquette women’s volleyball team reeling and in need of a big victory. With stellar play from junior right side hitter Lindsey Gosh in all facets Sunday, Marquette obliterated its rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee in straight sets (25-15, 25-17, 25-14) and improved to 6-4 with just one game remaining before Big East play.
“It means so much to our team, especially since they are our cross-city rival,” Gosh said. “Just knowing in our heads that we wanted to do that from the start, we were able to go out and do it.”
Gosh celebrated her 21st birthday in style Sunday, playing arguably her best game at Marquette. She led the team with 13 kills and a .545 hitting percentage and added six service aces and five block assists. Coach Bond Shymansky praised Gosh for the power she put on her serve Sunday.
“That jump serve is lethal,” Shymansky said. “Today, she got on that serve. We’ll clock that thing out in the low 50-MPH range. It’s really blowing people up when it gets into that range.”
Gosh’s serve can cause her problems at times, but she utilized it perfectly Sunday. Even though she made four errors, her aces buried an already demoralized UWM squad.
“I was feeling comfortable for the most part,” Gosh said. “I’ve been working on my toss, which is what I struggle with. That’s where I get my errors from. Knowing that I got my toss successfully helped a lot.”
Shymansky knows the importance of Gosh’s contributions to the team’s forward momentum and needs her to work her way back into the role she played so well in 2012.
“What we want out of Gosh is the next step forward, which is to become a six-rotation player again like she was for us last year,” Shymansky said. “That’s more focus for her in the back row at the passing and defensive skills. She can do it, but right now she’s got to compete against other players on the team.”
Redshirt freshman outside hitter Autumn Bailey chipped in 11 kills and eight digs for the Golden Eagles while senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein added 35 assists and nine digs. Shymansky primarily deployed freshman Nele Barber at outside hitter instead of sophomore Erin Lehman. He said both hitters have played well, and that switching them in-and-out is a great example of Marquette’s fantastic depth.
“Nele and Erin have been battling for the past month for that spot,” Shymansky said. “The battle has been super tight the whole way through … I like the idea that we have versatility. I say this to people all the time: this is one of the first years I’ve felt we have true depth.”
Friday, Marquette showed flashes of brilliance against fourth-ranked Florida but came up short and was swept 25-21, 25-21, 25-13. Marquette held leads of at least five points in both of the first two sets, but the Gators persevered and outlasted the Golden Eagles for their tenth win of the young season.
“I thought (Friday) was a great show of progression for our team,” Shymansky said. “(Friday), what I saw was great two sets to begin with and we just faltered in the third set. We just ran out of steam. More importantly, not physically we ran out of steam, but emotionally and mentally we ran out of steam.”
Although he was optimistic about their play in the opening sets, the late set collapses frustrated him.
“Those are missed opportunities for us. We came out and pounced on them in the first set and then we let them back in. It wasn’t anything amazing that they did, they just sort of chipped away and chipped away … really, it was just a blown opportunity.”
Shymansky knows going forward, opportunities like those in the Florida match are ones his team will need to convert.
“I’m not going to keep looking at that saying, ‘Oh, that’s an opportunity that we missed and we learned from it and whatever because they’re the fourth-ranked team,’” he said. “That’s a win that we want. Until our team crosses the bridge of saying, ‘We believe that we will win every game that we play,’ it’s not just enough for me to believe it. As a coach, I have to breathe that belief into my team.”