The sun may be descending upon the fall sports season, but the Marquette volleyball team feels the stars are aligned for a deep run this October. The Blazers enter Saturday’s regular-season finale with an 18-4 record and will most assuredly arrive at the postseason with their highest winning percentage since 2010, the coda of an 11-year dynasty that spelled big bucks for local trophy case dealers.
Amidst this revival year was a 12-match winning streak in which the Blazers surrendered just two games. Three of their four losses came to opponents competing in a higher classification this October. They went 9-1 at the Scholl Center this year. The common denominator in that loss was Kouts, which upended Marquette in a marathon five-setter (25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13) this past Wednesday.
Regardless, the Blazers have certainly closed the gap from when they found themselves on the wrong end of a 25-15, 25-13, 23-25, 25-18 tilt in last year’s sectional championship played at Morgan Township.
Marquette hopes that cozy Scholl Center feeling can zap an eight-year sectional drought.
For the first time since 2014, the Blazers will compete in sectionals on their home court. In addition to drawing a bye, Marquette is poised to face the winner of Hammond Academy of Science & Technology - a team it swept swiftly back on September 14th - and 21st Century Charter. Kouts looms on the other side of the bracket alongside perennial contender Morgan Township, Covenant Christian, and Washington Township.
A trademark of a deep squad, Marquette boasts the 100-kill duo of junior Kennedy Oselka (171) and senior Sophie Reyna (120) with junior Julia Maggio (95) on pace to make that duo a trio by Saturday. Senior Jenna Kirby recorded her 1,000th career assist last month and her steady presence and experience have served as a motor for the Blazer offense.
Senior libero Mikayla Moyer has paced Marquette in digs with 123 with Reyna on her heels with 117. The understanding of what it takes to compete for a sectional and further extends to the bench with assistant coach Colleen (Wall) Lane, a mainstay at the beginning of Marquette’s dominant run in the early 2000s.
Sectional 49 play begins Tuesday at 5:30 pm. Two matches will be played on Thursday at 5:30 pm and 7 pm. The semifinals will take place on Saturday at 11 am and 12:30 pm with the final held at 7 pm. Tickets are $6 per session, and season passes (all seven matches) will be available for $10. Any individual or family season ticket passes purchased through Marquette Athletics were eligible for home, regular-season matches only and will not be accepted for events during the IHSAA State Tournament.