Seton Hall and Marquette went the distance on Saturday night in an emotional, five-set match which saw the Golden Eagles come out on top.
The Pirates started slow out of the gate, and Marquette capitalized by quickly jumping to a 10-5 lead in the first set The Pirates were able to claw their way back, thanks largely in part to key digs from libero Sarah Kenneweg.
The impact was a continuation of good things for Kenneweg, who picked up her 1000th career dig on Friday night against DePaul. Seton Hall head coach Allison Yaeger, a former libero herself, sang Kenneweg’s praises following the match.
“Liberoes in general serve such a huge purpose,” Yaeger said. “[Kenneweg] is the center of our ball control and the center of our defense. We’re so happy for Kenny to get her 1000th dig.”
Ultimately, the efforts of Kenneweg and others were enough to get Seton Hall back in the first set, but not enough for them to steal it, as Marquette took the set 25-22.
The second set got off to a similar start, with Marquette gaining an early lead. But despite shades of previous sets, the second proved to be no ordinary one in the end.
Down 20-15, Seton Hall called a timeout to rest a fatigued squad. Sharay Barnes came out of the rest locked in and provided two quick kills to lessen the gap. Abby Thelen would then tie the set on three separate occasions, at 24, 26 and 27-all. Following Thelen’s efforts, Barnes would contribute again to help tie the set at 28 and 30-all.
Deep into second set tiebreakers, Dominique Mason contributed a couple clutch kills to continue the prolonged end of the set. The Pirates finally won the set at 35-33, off an attack error by Marquette’s Jenna Rosenthal.
The pivotal third set remained consistently gridlocked. Marquette went up 12-8, but Seton Hall tied it up quickly following a timeout. Kills by Thelen and Caitlin Koska would help the Pirates tie the game at 23, forcing Marquette to take their final timeout. Out of that timeout, the Golden Eagles proved to have the edge as they won the set, 26-24.
But the resilient Pirates squadron did not back down in the face of adversity. The fourth set was another back-and-forth affair, however, this time it was Seton Hall with a late lead, and the Pirates who had the answer, with two straight kills from Mason forcing a decisive fifth set.
In the fifth set, Marquette notched six points before the Hall could even get on the board. Seton Hall managed to make things close, but could not overcome the early hole as they dropped the set 15-11, and the match 3-2.
The Pirates next game will be at Villanova on Friday, Nov. 3 as they continue the stretch run of Big East play.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KMKTNF.