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Marquette Athletics | September 8, 2018

College volleyball: No. 10 USC drops to No. 25 Marquette in five sets

MILWAUKEE –  It was an electrifying night at the Al McGuire Center as the No. 25 Marquette University volleyball team fought through to a 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 31-33, 15-11) victory over 10th-ranked USC on Friday evening to open the 2018 Marquette Invitational.
 
Junior Allie Barber led the Golden Eagles (6-1) with a .473 hitting percentage and 29 kills, just one shy of her career best, while sophomore Hope Werch added a career-high 17 kills and 14 digs for her first double-double this year.  Senior Anna Haak also tallied double-digit kills with 12 and totaled her second double-double of the season adding 10 digs.

 
Junior Lauren Speckman notched MU's third double-double in the match with 38 assists and 13 digs, while fellow setter, sophomore Sarah Rose handed out 27 assists.  Sophomore libero Martha Konovodoff collected a match-high 27 digs.

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"We feel they (USC) had a particular system that they like to run with their back-row attack more active than most teams, so we had to handle their pins and had to manage that," head coach Ryan Theis said. "We kept them in check at times and for the most part I think we executed the game plan very well after the first set.  The first was all offense, both teams, but after that we played a little bit better defense."

 
Marquette went up 2-1 in the match and had multiple chances to close out the fourth with match point, but the teams kept trading points back-and-forth before the Trojans forced the decisive fifth set, which was the first of the season for the Golden Eagles.

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USC (5-3) combined for 12 team blocks in the match led by 10 from Jasmine Gross.  The Trojans had three players tally double-digit kills with Brooke Botkin and Khalia Lanier each at 17.

 
This was the third time in Marquette program history that the Golden Eagles have defeated a top-10 opponent with No. 7 Florida in 2014 and No. 7 USC in the 2016 season opener.

ALSO: Women’s volleyball: Top 11 matches of opening weekend
 
The Golden Eagles continue play in the Marquette Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8 hosting No. 3 BYU at 6 p.m. CT, which will stream live and for free at GoMarquette.com.