No. 25 Marquette opened up the Red & White Invitational with a five-set victory (26-24, 25-21, 20-25, 20-25, and 15-9) Friday night over the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“I want to give UIC’s staff and their defense and a lot of credit,” head coach Ryan Theis said in a statement. “They are very well coached and their libero played outstanding.”
The prospects looked grim for MU in the fifth set, as the Flames took sets three and four after MU lead 2-0.
After the Golden Eagles put together a 4-1 run to take a 9-6 lead in the final set, UIC evened things up on a 3-0 run of their own.
Behind the firepower of graduate student Savannah Rennie and redshirt sophomore Hannah Vanden Berg, Marquette rattled three straight points to hold on for the win.
Both teams exchanged tied and leads in the first set, with neither able to build no momentum. UIC was able to build a 19-14 lead down the stretch of the set, in part thanks to the first-year right side hitter Salma Abdelhady.
Then the Golden Eagles would capitalize on the Flames’ mistakes at the end of the frame to take the 26-24 set win.
After an early 4-3 lead in set two, MU did not look back as they took the set 25-21. The set would end on a successful challenge from Theis after a redshirt junior Ellie Koontz feed was overturned from out of bounds to a set point.
UIC finally capitalized on the Golden Eagles’ mistakes in the third and fourth sets, winning both by an identical 25-20 advantage.
Despite finishing tied in kills, with 13, in the third set, the Golden Eagles had five attack errors and three service errors. The Flame
After committing eight combined errors in the third frame, the woes continued for MU in set four resulting in UIC holding a 20-14 lead at one point. Then the Golden Eagles used a 6-1 run to bring the score within two, 22-20, but back-to-back errors handed the Flames the set win.
Marquette rebounded in the deciding set by hitting .529.
“In the fourth we went extremely high error but I was very impressed with our bounce back and offensive efficiency in the fifth,” Theis said in the statement. “We have a quick turnaround tomorrow and we need to recover quickly and get ready for the next one.”
Graduate student Taylor Wolf led the way for MU on the night with season-high 16 kills, 13 digs and three blocks. Rennie followed with a career-high 16 kills of her own, three blocks and hit .353 in the match.
Redshirt first-year Carsen Murray earned her fourth start of the season. The middle blocker put together a career-high performance recording 10 kills and seven blocks on the night.
Graduate outside hitter Hope Werch added 13 kills on the night. The Neenah, Wisconsin, native is 11 kills away from becoming the 13th player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills.
With the win, the Golden Eagles now lead the all-time series against the Flames 12-6. It is the second five-set win for MU against UIC in the series.
Marquette (4-0) will take on Ohio University at 1 p.m. Saturday. It will be the first time Theis will coach against his former squad since taking over the helms of the Golden Eagles in 2014.
This story was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.