Hitting a season-low .076 percent, the American volleyball team suffered its first loss of the year, dropping a 25-20, 25-19, 25-16 decision to Marquette Friday evening at Bender Arena. The Golden Eagles move to 3-1 on the season, while the Eagles fall to 3-1 on the year.
With American and Marquette each receiving votes in the latest AVCA coaches poll, the match-up was expected to be a challenge for both teams. However, the Golden Eagles came out on top with dominant play at the net.
In the first set, Marquette took advantage of strong blocking to put together a pair of scoring runs, pulling ahead to a 19-13 lead. While American was able to get within two points, the Golden Eagles closed out the set with three straight points to take the 25-20 win.
AU was still unable to find its rhythm in the second set, as Marquette led the whole way in capturing a 25-19 victory. The scoring woes continued for American in the third game, while the Golden Eagles posted their highest hitting percentage of the match. After leading throughout the set, Marquette scored the final five points to claim a 25-16 win and the match victory.
“In the first set with the score 12-13 or 12-14, we were in a battle,” said American head coach Barry Goldberg. “Then, being a physical team, they started blocking a lot of balls. We didn’t respond properly to their team battling at the net. The back row did OK, but we didn’t respond physically at the net.”
Senior Kelly McCaddin was the top performer for American, finishing with nine kills and three total blocks, along with a .368 hitting percentage. In addition, junior Sarah Katz added seven kills for the Eagles. For Marquette, Autumn Bailey led the way with 15 kills, while Meghan Niemann and Teal Schnurr each recorded five blocks.
“This match was a tester for us to try to be more physical,” stated Goldberg. “This was a learning match for us. We’ll see how we respond to the eighth-ranked team in the country on Sunday.”
American is now set to face Florida State, which moved into eighth place in the coaches poll following its road win over national powerhouse Nebraska. The Seminoles are coming off a 3-2 win over its in-state rival, 11th-ranked Florida. Sunday’s game against Florida State is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. in Bender Arena.