The last time the Marquette women’s volleyball team faced a mid-week road block, it struggled to maintain momentum and gritted out an incredibly tight five-set win over Illinois State. Tuesday night, the Golden Eagles made sure they took care of business quickly and swept Loyola-Chicago in three convincing sets, 25-22, 25-16, 25-13.
“Everyone’s mentality was like, ‘It’s a Tuesday night, let’s not do what we did two weeks ago with Illinois State,’” senior libero Julie Jeziorowski said. “‘Let’s finish this and finish them off from the start.’”
Marquette finished off the Ramblers with a furious and balanced attack up front. Freshman outside hitter Autumn Bailey led the way with 12 kills, and redshirt freshman middle hitter Meghan Niemann and junior right side hitter Lindsey Gosh each chipped in 11. The Golden Eagles combined to hit .384 as a unit.
“We got really balanced attack out of our hitters,” coach Bond Shymansky said. “There are some matches where we feel like there’s one hitter that’s carrying us and we just keep setting her the ball over and over. We become too one-dimensional in that regard. Tonight, we had really good balance.”
In the opening set, the Golden Eagles weathered some pressure from Loyola and held on late to win 25-22. Their intensity and accuracy picked up in the second frame, and they hit .439 with 20 kills in the 25-16 victory. Heading into intermission, Shymansky knew that maintaining that momentum would be paramount for the team’s confidence going forward.
“We did better in the second set than in the first and I wanted to keep that upward swing and momentum,” he said. “We tried to make it about tightening up certain things and focusing on different components of the match.”
The team responded brilliantly in the third set and jumped all over the Ramblers. Marquette led 9-2 early and led by an astounding 20-5 margin before settling for the 25-13 win. Jeziorowski said the match provided the team with a nice tune up as conference play continues.
“It’s a good practice to prepare us for the future games in conference play,” she said. “Sweeping a team 3-0 is a great confidence boost. It reassures us that we are good and we know what we can do to teams.”
The practice was necessary for the Golden Eagles, who will play their most challenging game of the Big East slate Sunday when they travel to Creighton. Shymansky said the team is looking forward to renewing the rivalry that blossomed over the past few seasons.
“(Creighton) has quickly become one of our top conference foes,” Shymansky said. “It’s definitely been a year in and year out battle for us. Even though they just joined the Big East, we’ve played them on-and-off for the last three years. It’s been a great contest between the two programs and we’re excited for that trip.”
Jeziorowski echoed her coach, and her anticipation for the big conference showdown was evident.
“Today was a great continuance of what’s going on,” she said. “Everybody is really excited for this … this is the team that’s ahead of us and we want to knock them down.”