Volleyball eyeing a turnaround away from home
The Seton Hall volleyball team looks to rebound from a tough loss to Rutgers as they play at Marquette on Friday and Syracuse on Sunday.
The Pirates lost a tough match at in-state rival Rutgers on Oct. 14, dropping three straight sets to the Scarlet Knights, 25-18, 25-21, and 25-22. The loss dropped Seton Hall to 13-8 overall and 4-2 in Big East conference play.
The Scarlet Knights earned their first conference win of the season at the Pirates’ expense.
Seton Hall had been looking to avenge last season’s loss, which cost them a higher qualifying seed in the Big East Tournament, but it was not to be as Rutgers maintained a lead throughout most of the three sets.
Freshmen setter Shelbey Manthorpe led the Pirates with 24 assists and nine kills, while sophomore Alyssa Warren tallied a game-high 17 digs.
Head coach Kris Zeiter said they may have slightly overlooked Rutgers and were probably looking forward to a few days off after the match.
“Rutgers certainly played better than they had shown on video,” Zeiter said. “We weren’t as energetic, and it was one of those days where not much seemed to work right.”
This weekend, the Pirates will try to get back on track against Marquette, one of the top Big East teams this year.
The Golden Eagles are 16-5 overall and 6-0 in conference play, currently seated in second place. They are just a half game behind Louisville in conference standings.
“We always play well against Marquette, and every time the match goes the distance and lasts five sets,” Zeiter said. “It will be another long match and will be fast-paced, so whoever has better ball control and gets more kills will win.”
The Pirates lost a five-set match at home to Marquette last season, but defeated the Golden Eagles the previous two seasons, both in five sets.
Seton Hall will travel to face Syracuse on Sunday. The Orange are 13-8 overall and 3-3 in conference play.
According to Zeiter, the key to Syracuse is their ability to block.
“They are one of the best blocking teams in the country,” Zeiter said.
Syracuse leads the Big East in blocks, averaging 3.06 blocks per set.
The Orange are led by junior Samantha Hinz (1.55 average blocks per set) and sophomore Lindsay McCabe (1.24 per set), who are first and third in the conference, respectively.
As Seton Hall prepares for its matchups this weekend, the Pirates’ strategy is to continue working on its offense.
“We have been very good defensively,” Zeiter said. “So we need to keep our focus on improving the offense, which will carry us to wins.”
Overall, Zeiter said the team just needs to keep up their focus and intensity as the Big East tournament nears.
“We have two classes of players that have always made the playoffs, so it has become somewhat of a normal thing in this program,” Zeiter said. “We want to continue that success this season.”
Friday’s matchup at Marquette is set for 7 p.m., while the Sunday matchup with Syracuse begins at 2 p.m.
Christopher Shedlock can be reached at Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org.