It was inevitable Marquette someday would win a volleyball match against the University of Wisconsin.
Thursday was that day.
The No. 11 Golden Eagles, winless in 20 matches against the Badgers, rallied from a 2-0 deficit to knock off the No. 4 Badgers 22-25, 22-25, 29-27, 32-30, 15-9 in a marathon match at the UW Field House.
Marquette (4-0) fought off two match points in the third set and four in the fourth set to prevail.
“It’s two teams playing really hard,” UW coach Kelly Sheffield said. “I’m sure these guys are a little bummed to lose the match. You don’t want to play three hours and not be able to pull out a win, especially when you’re up 2-0. But that was two really good volleyball teams going at it.”
Despite the Badgers’ historical dominance of the series, the teams have had competitive matches in recent years and the UW coaches considered this the best Marquette team they’ve seen. They players knew that as well.
“We knew they were a good team going into this,” junior setter Sydney Hilley said. “They’re always super competitive and they’re really fun to play against because of that. I think it exposed some things that we need to work on. It’s good that we can learn from this.”
The Badgers (2-1) dominated play at the net early and finished with 17 team blocks. The Golden Eagles had just three.
But Marquette started to find some gaps in the last three sets, with senior Allie Barber leading the attack with 22 kills and juniors Hope Werch and Kaitlyn Lines providing 17 each.
“We blocked them a lot early and we weren’t late,” said Sheffield, who singled out Werch in particular. “They were hitting under .100 after the first two sets and they hit over .400 in the last three. It came down to us not being able to stop those guys.”
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Barber, who didn’t serve most of the match, served six consecutive points in the fifth set, including an ace, as the Golden Eagles took command 10-5 after trailing 4-1 early in the set.
Junior Dana Rettke led the Badgers with 22 kills, hitting .455, and eight blocks. Redshirt junior Molly Haggerty delivered 16 kills and redshirt sophomore Danielle Hart had nine blocks.
But in the end, they couldn’t come up with the play to finish things off.
“No matter what, even though we didn’t win those I think going up and swinging big and being confident is what we want and I think we were still doing that,” Haggerty said. “We weren’t shying away from the moment. It just didn’t go our way.”
Marquette 22 22 29 32 15
Wisconsin 25 25 27 30 9
MARQUETTE (kills-digs-blocks) — VandenBerg 2-0-0, Rose 0-7-0, Speckman 0-8-0, Konovodoff 0-17-0, Werch 17-9-0, Lines 17-9-1, Barber 22-4-1, Martinez 0-0-0, Koontz 15-1-1, Schoessow 0-7-0, Jones 6-0-1, Orf 2-2-2. Totals 81-63-3.
WISCONSIN (kills-digs-blocks) — Hilley 1-5-5, Barnes 0-6-0, Ashburn 0-11-1, Duello 10-1-5, Rettke 22-0-8, Clark 0-15-0, Hart 7-0-9, Dodge 0-2-0, Loberg 11-0-0, Haggerty 16-10-6. Totals 67-60-17.
Hitting percentage — M .283, W .282. Aces — M 5 (Lines 2), W 4 (Clark 2). Assists — M 78 (Speckman 42), W 63 (Hilley 59).