DePaul falls to Marquette in five


Erin Henze

Sophomore Maggie Jones attempts a spike in DePaul’s loss to Marquette Wednesday night.

Coming into Wednesday night’s match against the Marquette Golden Eagles, the Blue Demons knew they were in for a challenge. 

“They’re ranked No. 16 in the nation for a reason,” said head coach Marie Zidek. “They are a really strong team with a lot of arms and a lot of offense.” 

DePaul came out of the gate strong in the first set, scoring the first three points of the match thanks to a pair of kills by sophomore middle blocker Aly Kindleberger and another one from junior outside hitter Jill Pressly. 

“I thought we were just playing really connected,” freshman pin hitter Taylor Underwood said of their first set performance. “I felt like I could really trust my teammates and they could trust me, and that’s just a great feeling to play with.” 

The first set was a thrilling back-and-forth display of hustle and skill that went all the way to a score of 32-20, with the Blue Demons snatching the victory. 

“What we did really well over the entirety of the match was really holding their outside hitters to low kill counts and low efficiencies,” Zidek said. “We really forced them to play a different style of volleyball.” 

But, the Golden Eagles would not go quietly.

Marquette started the second set in dominant fashion, going on a 4-0 run and seizing control of the match. 

“We had a slow start, especially in the second and third sets,” setter Maggie Jones said. “We just got off to really slow starts and had to crawl out of a hole.” 

Marquette forced six Blue Demon errors in the second set alone and claimed a comfortable 25-18 win. 

The third set followed in a similar fashion, with Marquette taking the early lead and never looking back. The Blue Demons stayed in contention the whole set and refused to allow Marquette more than two to three points at a time. 

“We’ve been working on that concept a lot in practice,” Zidek said. “Not allowing teams to go on runs, whether it means we need to pass a little better, fix a set a little better, or get into a long rally. We really tried to come out tonight and stop those runs and I thought our players did a nice job of that.” 

Marquette claimed the third set by a score of 25-20, putting them in control of the match heading into the fourth. 

Sophomore setter Maggie Jones facilitated a balanced Blue Demon attack, sharing the ball and propelling a variety of hitters into double-digit kill numbers. 

“I just try to look at the matchups across the net,” Jones said. “I usually try to set the hitter that has the worst blocker and mix up who I set so that the defense doesn’t see the same move twice.” 

This method allowed DePaul to pull ahead of the Golden Eagles in the back-half of the set and claim a 25-19 victory, setting the two teams up for an exciting conclusion to a hard-fought match. 

Unfortunately for the Blue Demons, Marquette came out hot in the final set, taking a 4-1 lead right off the bat. 

“We just need to keep up our intensity and push to our max against these tough teams,” Underwood said of their final set performance.

DePaul took a timeout after Marquette took a 9-3 lead, but failed to stop the bleeding and dropped the final set by a score of 15-8. 

Regardless of the final score, Coach Zidek was proud of her team and their energetic performance. 

“I’m just really proud of my team and how involved they were on the block,” she said. “The first time around I think we lost in 38 minutes, so this time around our block really took it upon themselves to get a little bit more involved and that made the rallies longer. I thought we did a really nice job of going point for point, serving tough, and rallying them really well.” 

DePaul finished the game with a loaded stat sheet, as Pressly, senior pin hitter Bailey Nelson, Underwood and Kindleberger all put up double-digit kill numbers. 

With the loss to Marquette, DePaul moved to eighth in the Big East rankings with an overall record of 7-16 and a conference record 3-8. They will face off against the Butler Bulldogs this Sunday in Indianapolis at 12 pm CDT..